POLITICS
12/02/2018 10:36 GMT | Updated 12/02/2018 12:00 GMT

Boris Johnson To Promise 'Liberal' Brexit In High-Profile Intervention

'If pessimism was a disease, Boris Johnson would be immune.'

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images
Boris Johnson set to outline 'liberal' Brexit plan.

Boris Johnson will set out a vision for a “liberal” Brexit this week in the first of a series of high profile speeches designed to put “meat on the bones” of the government’s plan for leaving the EU.

The foreign secretary’s parliamentary aide, Conor Burns, said Johnson would try and focus on “hope and optimism”.

“If pessimism was a disease, Boris Johnson would be immune,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Westminster Hour.

“He wants us now to leave the labels ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ behind and unite in the opportunities Brexit presents for Britain.”

WPA Pool via Getty Images
Theresa May and some of her ministers will deliver Brexit speeches in the coming weekes.

Burns added that Johnson’s aim in his speech on Wednesday, Valentines Day, would be to prove “you don’t have to have a Faragist view of the world to be a Brexit supporter”.

But in a pop at pro-EU Tory MPs such as Anna Soubry, Burns said “you could offer to reverse the decision and it wouldn’t make them happy”.

One government insider told HuffPost UK Johnson’s speech would “set pulses raising”.

They added: “It’s trying to address why so many Remainers hearts are scarred by leaving.”

Carl Court via Getty Images
Anna Soubry has warned Theresa May she does not have the votes for her Brexit plan.

Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, government would finally put “meat on the bones” of its Brexit plan when a series of ministers deliver set-piece speeches in the coming weeks.

Johnson’s speech on Wednesday will be followed on Saturday by May detailing the “security partnership” the UK wants to maintain with the EU.

Brexit Secretary David Davis and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will also set out their agendas,

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, who backed Remain in the referendum, will also deliver a speech.

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

However Philip Hammond has not been scheduled to make a speech - leading to accusations he has been sidelined.

David Gauke, the justice secretary, denied this was the case. “The chancellor has hardly been silent on this matter,” he told ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

“He’s not part of the set of speeches that have been outlined today, but that doesn’t mean the chancellor is not expressing his views both internally in the cabinet conversations but also externally. He is setting out his views.

“I don’t think there’s anything in this, that there is any kind of plot to gag a particular faction of ministers. I don’t think that’s a fair characterisation at all.”

Soubry yesterday warned Theresa May there would not be a Commons majority for her plan to take the UK out of the single market and customs union.