Boris Johnson has poured cold water on proposals for a bank holiday to mark Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Nigel Farage famously said June 23 – the date of the EU referendum in 2016 – should become known as Britain’s Independence Day, while others have suggested an annual holiday should be declared for March 29, the formal date of Brexit in 2019.
But Mr Johnson made clear he was wary of attempting to “impose a celebration” on voters, many of whom remain bitterly opposed to Brexit.
The Foreign Secretary said he would “certainly” be celebrating on the day of Brexit and would encourage others to do the same.
I don’t think we can impose a celebration on people. I will certainly be celebrating, I would encourage people to celebrateBoris Johnson
But he told reporters during his visit to South America: “I think it was Doctor Johnson who said: ‘Believe me sir, there is nothing quite so hopeless as a scheme for merriment’.
“I don’t think we can impose a celebration on people. I will certainly be celebrating, I would encourage people to celebrate.”
He was also sceptical of the economic wisdom of extra bank holidays, of the kind promised by Jeremy Corbyn if Labour wins power.
“I don’t know what another bank holiday would do to close our productivity gap,” he said.