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Boris is behind me over Brexit, says PM

By Andrew Woodcock

Theresa May has insisted the Cabinet is "united" behind her despite renewed feuding over Brexit as the Conservatives' annual conference opens in Manchester.

The gathering has already seen an incendiary intervention by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who laid down a raft of 'red lines' for withdrawal from the EU including an insistence that a transition phase must not last "a second more" than two years.

The Prime Minister sidestepped the question of whether Mr Johnson was "unsackable" in a high-profile TV interview, saying only that he was "absolutely behind" the plan for Brexit which she set out in a speech in Florence, Italy, last week.

Mrs May told BBC 1's Andrew Marr Show: "Boris is absolutely behind the Florence speech and the line that we have taken. What Boris is saying is the importance of the approach we have taken in the Florence speech. That has moved the discussion on and created a momentum in the negotiations."

However, First Secretary of State Damian Green appeared to deliver a thinly-veiled rebuke to Mr Johnson over his public outspokenness on Brexit. In a pointed intervention, Mr Green called on ministers to make their policy pitches in private.

He told Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics: "It is extremely sensible when you are in Government to express those views in private rather than public.

"It's advice for everyone. It's advice for all my colleagues at all times. That if you feel strongly about something then make your pitch in private. And then, when the Government has come to a collective decision, stick to it."

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