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Boris Johnson slams Chequers 'outrage' in direct pitch to Tory members

03 October 2018

Following a disastrous conference speech a year ago, Theresa May will feel even more pressure than usual when she takes to the stage later today to address her party's annual gathering.

In an upbeat passage in her speech, she will say: "I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise".

The success of the Alternative Conference reinforces the sense that the Prime Minister and her cabinet are not even popular within her own party.

However, a series of senior Tory figures including the chancellor, Philip Hammond, the home secretary, Sajid Javid, and Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, have been among those who have criticised Johnson over his constant attacks on May's Brexit plans, and his attempts to overshadow the conference.

He told a 1 500-strong crowd on Tuesday that May's trade plan was "dangerous", suggesting it undermined the hopes of Brexit voters.

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Ahead of his conference appearance, he was pictured out jogging, in what some interpreted as a "parody" of Mrs May's claim that the "naughtiest" thing she did as a child was to run through a field of wheat.

After a meeting with May in Birmingham, DUP leader Arlene Foster tweeted: "NO border in the Irish Sea will ever be acceptable to unionists throughout the United Kingdom. regulatory or otherwise".

But Johnson's recent comments about her Brexit plan, calling it "deranged" and saying it strapped a suicide vest to the British constitution, have angered many fellow MPs.

Mr Johnson is not speaking from the stage at this year's conference, after walking out of Cabinet in July in protest at the plan agreed at Chequers for the UK's future relationship with the EU.

But with rumours circulating in Birmingham that the Prime Minister has a tickly cough, she will be hoping there is no repeat of the mishaps she suffered during her conference speech past year.

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The pressure is now on Ms.

Some of Johnson's supporters, while welcoming his speech, said they believed now was not the time to launch a leadership bid against May. And she's rejected a Canada-style deal because it would create a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, a violation of the 1998 Good Friday Accord that ended decades of sectarian violence.

You know we are all, he and I, all members here are members of the Conservative and Unionist Party. That's because we believe in the union of the United Kingdom.

"If we get it wrong now and we proceed with this undemocratic solution, if we remain half-in half-out, we will protract this toxic tedious business that is frankly so off-putting to sensible middle-of-the-road people who want us to stop talking about Europe and get on with their domestic priorities".

"We have a guarantee for the people of Northern Ireland and we are upholding that". We have to make the arguments for free markets, for open economies, and we have to recognise in doing that, that for some people as I said on the steps of Downing Street back when I first became Prime Minister, they do feel that things haven't been working for everyone in the way that they should. "Our Chequers plan does that it's the only plan on the table at the moment that does".

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Boris Johnson slams Chequers 'outrage' in direct pitch to Tory members