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Voters need ‘clear picture’ of leaders’ Brexit plans – Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister sent a letter to Jeremy Corbyn on Monday night.

Boris Johnson during a visit to Metropolitan Police training college in Hendon, north London (Aaron Chown/PA)
Boris Johnson during a visit to Metropolitan Police training college in Hendon, north London (Aaron Chown/PA)

By Catherine Wylie, PA

Boris Johnson has challenged Jeremy Corbyn to “come clean” about his Brexit plan, while the Labour leader will accuse him of plotting to sell out the NHS, as the two leaders ramp up their General Election campaigns.

In a letter to Mr Corbyn, Mr Johnson said voters deserve to have a “clear picture” of what each potential leader will do when it comes to leaving the European Union.

Mr Johnson said Mr Corbyn has “sought to avoid explaining” what his plan is, and said he seems to want to “go back to square one”.

But a Labour Party spokesman said: “Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly laid out Labour’s clear and straightforward policy of getting Brexit sorted by giving the people the final say within six months and will do so again tomorrow in a major speech.”

In his speech, Mr Corbyn is expected to say the Tories are preparing to unleash “Thatcherism on steroids”, opening up the health service to US pharmaceutical companies and stripping workers of their rights.

He will again claim Mr Johnson is seeking a post-Brexit trade deal with the US that would mean “full market access” to the NHS for US producers, pushing up the cost of medicines.

The Conservatives have consistently denied the NHS would be “on the table” in trade talks with President Donald Trump’s administration.

Mr Johnson’s letter to Mr Corbyn, sent on Monday night, includes five questions which Mr Johnson says he and the voting public await answers to.

The PM wrote: “Your current position seems to be that you want to go back to square one.

“You want to throw out the great new deal we have reached with our European friends, and instead negotiate a whole new treaty from scratch.

“Even assuming the EU agrees to go back to the very beginning, this will take months and possibly years to do – under your proposals, 2020 will be lost to more dither and delay over Brexit.

“Voters also have the right to know: what would your supposed Brexit ‘deal’ actually take back control of?

“For months you have refused to say what sort of ‘deal’ you want with the EU.

“Now the time has come for you to come clean, and explain what your plan really is so when the public vote on December 12th, they know what they are voting for.”

The Prime Minister asked Mr Corbyn if he believes the result of the 2016 referendum should be respected and the UK should leave the EU.

He asked if it is the Labour Party’s policy to keep the UK in the customs union, and would the party end free movement in any deal it negotiates.

Mr Johnson asked Mr Corbyn if he would commit to campaigning on his deal in a second referendum, and questions him on what his supposed timetable is to renegotiate a new deal, and then hold a second referendum.

He asked him how much taxpayers’ money he will spend on holding a second referendum in 2020, and if this would comply with Electoral Commission guidance on holding referendums.

On the possibility of revoking Article 50, he wrote: “You rightly claim (for now at least) that the Liberal Democrat and SNP plan to revoke Article 50 is extreme – but if there is a hung Parliament you will depend on their votes.

“Will you confirm that, if there is a hung Parliament, you would never be willing to revoke Article 50?”

In his letter Mr Johnson said: “It is already clear that your plan will result in years more expensive delay and will prolong the divisions in our society.

“If politicians force the public to vote again because they don’t like the result of an election, we will destroy all faith in our democratic process.

“Instead, we must show the British people that politicians can be trusted to honour their vote and get Brexit done immediately.”

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems have vowed to put a £50 billion “Remain bonus” into public services if they win the General Election.

The party, which will launch its campaign in London on Tuesday, said scrapping Brexit will generate billions for public finances because they say remaining in the European Union will mean the economy will grow faster than under Brexit, and will lead to higher GDP.

Elsewhere, the Brexit Party will kick off a nationwide tour as part of their campaign, taking in towns in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, after leader Nigel Farage vowed to target the five million Labour voters who backed Leave in the referendum.

PA

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