Boris Johnson complains about threat of ‘punishment beatings’ from Europe

Written by David Singleton on 18 January 2017 in Diary

It is not the first time that Johnson has spoken about punishment beatings...

Boris Johnson has come out fighting for the best possible Brexit deal – by warning French president Francois Hollande not to hit the UK with Nazi-style “punishment beatings”.

Johnson was widely criticised in the EU referendum campaign after he claimed the EU has the same goal as Hitler.

But speaking in Delhi, the foreign secretary returned to the theme once again when he appeared to implicitly compare the French president to a Nazi.

He said: “If Mr Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who seeks to escape [the EU], in the manner of some world war two movie, I don’t think that is the way forward, and it’s not in the interests of our friends and partners.

“It seems absolutely incredible to me that in the 21st century member states of the EU should be seriously contemplating the reintroduction of tariffs or whatever to administer punishment to the UK.”

A diplomatic adviser to Hollande reacted to Theresa May’s Brexit speech this week by saying the president would not be prepared to give the UK a better deal outside the single market than in it. It comes after Hollande warned last year that “there must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price” for the UK withdrawing from the EU.

Number 10 tried to play down Johnson's latest unhelpful comments by insisting that "he was making a theatrical comparison".

Responding to Johnson's comments for the Open Britain group, Labour MP Wes Streeting was less forgiving.

He said: "It seems the foreign secretary has been leafing through his well-thumbed copy of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Nobody who wants to see a good Brexit deal for Britain should welcome these crass comments. To get a deal that protects our economy and keeps Britain an open, tolerant country, we need to negotiate in good faith and with courtesy with our European partners.

"Treating diplomacy like an old war firm is no way for the foreign secretary to behave. Boris Johnson should instead focus on working constructively with the rest of Europe to achieve a good deal for Britain.”

Meanwhile, some hacks noted that Johnson has not always been so squeamish about punishment beatings...







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