David Mundell launches attack on Boris Johnson

Arturo Kim
October 3, 2018

But her bid to revitalize her domestic agenda and steal the initiative from the main opposition Labour Party has been overshadowed by the party splits over Brexit.

Condemning it as a "constitutional outrage, he had adoring supporters cheering wildly when he said: "Now is the time to chuck Chequers".

The conference has been overshadowed by tensions over Brexit, with the prime minister sticking by her Chequers plan, which would see the United Kingdom retain close links to the European Union in trade in goods, but not services, despite criticism from all sides.

But he warned: 'If we cheat the electorate - and Chequers is a cheat - we will escalate the sense of mistrust.

In what may be seen as a swipe at Mrs May's focus on righting "burning injustices" in society, he will urge the party not to "ape Corbyn" but to "take basic conservative ideas and fit them to the problems of today".

Mr Johnson's demand for the PM to "chuck Chequers" has echoed around the corridors and fringe meetings at a conference gathering riven by profound differences over the best approach to Britain's European Union withdrawal.

"We must show everyone in this country that we are that party".

Satirist Kaya Marr holds a painting mocking MP Boris Johnson outside the conference in Birmingham on Tuesday.

'I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise, ' she will say.

She told the BBC Johnson's alternative Brexit proposals would, she said, tear up the United Kingdom by forcing Northern Ireland to operate separately from the rest of the U.K. On that score she is supported by leader Arlene Foster and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Northern Ireland party whose 10 seats are helping to keep the Conservatives in power.

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Other ministers chimed in, with Justice Minister David Gauke doubting Johnson's credentials for leadership. This is not what we voted for.

"That plan is Boris", Conservative lawmaker James Duddridge tweeted.

"Am I disappointed [that he didn't declare]? The prime minister seems incapable of doing this".

Ms May, when asked in a series of broadcast interviews earlier about Mr Johnson's expected intervention, said she had expected his speech would be a "lively" event but declined to make any personal criticism.

"We have a very, very strong leader in Scotland in Ruth Davidson who had a very significant contribution to make to this conference".

Accusing Mr Johnson of lacking the attention to detail to succeed in "grown-up politics", he dismissed the "super-Canada" Brexit deal favoured by the former foreign secretary as a "fantasy world" plan.

The wide-ranging speech was widely seen as Johnson's audition for May's job before the party faithful at their annual gathering.

"Chequers has failed, it's not realistic, it doesn't deliver on the Brexit my constituents vote for".

Mr Johnson will pay only a flying one-day visit to a conference which has witnessed open warfare within the Tory party over Brexit, which critics say he has done nothing to calm.

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