Boris Johnson has told MPs he is “completely in conformity” with the Government’s Brexit policy as the customs approach has yet to be decided.
Tory ex-cabinet minister Ken Clarke congratulated the Foreign Secretary for his “unswerving loyalty to collective Government policy” over Iran as he mocked Mr Johnson’s decision to use an interview to label proposals for a customs partnership after Brexit as “crazy”.
Mr Johnson shot back that he remembered writing stories about Mr Clarke’s own “unswerving loyalty” over Europe while a journalist before defending his remarks.
Prime Minister Theresa May is understood to favour the customs partnership proposal, which would result in the UK collecting customs tariffs on behalf of the EU.
It is believed such an approach would break the deadlock in Brexit talks on the future of the Irish border, although it has failed to secure support from senior Cabinet colleagues.
Officials have been asked to rethink the plan along with a second “maximum facilitation” option using new technology to reduce friction at the border.
Pro-EU Mr Clarke prompted laughter in the Commons after Mr Johnson delivered an update to MPs about the Iran nuclear deal.
Mr Clarke joked: “May I first of all congratulate the Foreign Secretary for his unswerving loyalty to collective Government policy at the despatch box this afternoon.”
Mr Johnson replied: “I remember getting a lot of wonderful copy when I was a political journalist from the displays of unswerving loyalty to Government policy on the matter that (Mr Clarke) used to display.
“By the way, I’m completely in conformity with Government policy on the matter I believe which he is referring since that policy has yet to be decided.”