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PM and Cabinet heavyweights to set out Brexit aims

A series of speeches will be made following a rocky few weeks for the Government.

A bid to regain the Brexit initiative with a series of top level speeches by Theresa May and senior Cabinet colleagues is being launched by the Government.

The Prime Minister is set to make two key note addresses in the coming weeks, and arch Brexiteers, Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox will also set out their agendas.

However, Chancellor Philip Hammond is not slated to take part in what Downing Street sources dubbed a drive to set out Britain’s road map to Brexit.

The wave of speeches comes as a Tory party donor warned the Conservative Party would be “decimated” at an election unless Theresa May could “take the bull by the horns” and show strong leadership.

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has called for more clarity from London (Nick Ansell/PA)

The public relations blitz is being seen as an attempt to try and set the tone in the run-up to another round of tough negotiations with Brussels over a transition deal.

In the first of the speeches on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson will call for national unity over withdrawal.

This will be followed on Saturday by Prime Minister Theresa May detailing the “security partnership” the UK wants to maintain with the EU.

Brexit Secretary Mr Davis and International Trade Secretary Dr Fox will also set out their agendas, along with Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, who backed Remain in the referendum.

Mrs May will then round off the process in an address setting out how she sees the overall relationship between Britain and Brussels after withdrawal.

After a rocky few weeks for the Government, in which Cabinet tensions over Brexit broke to the surface, Tory party donor Sir John Hall warned that the PM needed to “stand up” and “convince everybody that she can be the leader who can stay”.

He told the Observer: “She’s got to take the bull by the horns and say, ‘this is the road we are going. Do your damnedest – if you want to vote me out, vote me out’.

“But we have to appear stronger.”

He added: “If we had an election, I reckon we’d be decimated. To me as a donor, the Conservative party has to look at itself in terms of where we’re going.

“She has got to stay to such time that someone else comes forward. A new leader has to emerge – or she has to come through very strongly.”

As well as the speeches, members of the Cabinet’s Brexit sub-committee will attend an “away day” summit at the Prime Minister’s country residence Chequers.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier pointedly complained last week that there were still “problems” in Brussels “understanding the position of the British Government”.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will also make a speech (Steve Parsons/PA)

The speeches come as a poll shows widespread confusion over the Government’s Brexit stance.

Almost three in four voters are not clear what Mrs May wants overall, BMG Research data for The Independent has shown.

A survey found that 39% of voters were “not at all” clear on the objectives, while 35% were “not very” clear, according to the paper.


From Belfast Telegraph