Umunna – Boris Johnson’s speech is on Valentine’s Day, not April Fool’s Day: the Brexit he is promising won’t be delivered

Boris Johnson will deliver a speech this morning, on Valentine’s Day, setting out his vision of Brexit. It is entitled ‘The Road to Brexit: A United Kingdom’.  

Commenting on the speech, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said: 

“Boris Johnson is totally unqualified to preach about the perils of fear and betrayal when he engaged in disgraceful scaremongering with his ridiculous assertion that Turkey was on the verge of joining the EU and he has already betrayed millions of people by going back on his pledge to secure £350 million extra per week for the NHS.  This is hypocrisy of the highest order.

“He has so far failed to explain why he is campaigning in Cabinet to take the UK out of the Customs Union when there is no other solution to the Irish border issue and it will jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement settlement. He has failed to explain why the Government has failed to start negotiating new trade deals when the campaign he led promised we would do so immediately after the Leave vote.  

“Boris Johnson needs to come clean and concede that we cannot have our cake and eat it when leaving the EU. His speech is on Valentine’s Day, not April Fool’s Day.”



Notes to editors:

Open Britain has highlighted a number of examples of Boris Johnson’s broken Brexit promises, and quotes exposing the real agenda he has for employment protections, the NHS and wider deregulation of the economy.


Broken promises

Boris Johnson himself said in 2012 “It is easy to make promises. It is hard work to keep them." He knows this perhaps better than anyone:

1) He used to back staying in the Single Market, but has now changed his mind

"I'd vote to stay in the Single Market: I'm in favour of the Single Market."
Boris Johnson, 2013

3) He promised the NHS would receive £350m a week, and now says that was an underestimate

"There was an error on the side of the bus; we grossly underestimated the sum over which we would be able to take back control."
Boris Johnson, January 2018

2) He said Turkey was joining the EU, which it clearly was not

"If the Government cannot give this guarantee [of vetoing Turkish accession to the EU], the public will draw the reasonable conclusion that the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to Vote Leave and take back control on 23 June."
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, June 2016

3) He said the EU could “go whistle” over the divorce bill, but now accepts we will have to pay at least £40bn

"I think that the sums that I have seen ... seem to me to be extortionate and I think 'go whistle' is an entirely appropriate expression."
Boris Johnson, 7 November 2017


Boris’ real agenda

Boris has a clear agenda for Brexit: to deregulate the economy, water down protections for workers and the environment and fundamentally change the NHS:

1) He has campaigned to “scrap” the social chapter

“Boil it down to the single market. Scrap the social chapter."
Boris Johnson, 4 December 2012

“There is little doubt that it is that extra stuff, the stuff from Brussels, that is helping to fur the arteries to the point of sclerosis. The weight of employment regulation is now back-breaking: the collective redundancies directive, the atypical workers directive, the working time directive and a thousand more.”
Boris Johnson, 6 June 2014

2) He has talked about how Brexit is “an opportunity” to deregulate the economy

“[Brexit] will be an opportunity for this country to get rid of some of the burdensome regulation that has accreted over the last 44 years.”
Boris Johnson, 28 March 2017


3) He is an advocate of NHS privatisation

“If NHS services continue to be free in this way, they will continue to be abused like any free service...if people have to pay for them, they will value them more.”

Boris Johnson, 2003