Boris Johnson says Theresa May is ‘wrapping a suicide vest around Britain’ with Brexit plan

Boris Johnson has launched an attack on Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, claiming she has ‘wrapped a suicide vest’ around Britain. The ex-foreign secretary accused the Prime Minister of handing ‘the detonator’ to Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Barnier. His extraordinary comments – just hours after he announced he would be divorcing his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler – have exposed deep divides within the Tory party, prompting a backlash from senior colleagues. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson lashed out at the Northern Ireland ‘backstop,’ aimed at making sure there is no hard border with Ireland. He said: ‘We have opened ourselves to perpetual political blackmail. We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution – and handed the detonator to Michel Barnier. ‘We have given him a jemmy with which Brussels can choose – at any time – to crack apart the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.’ Under the EU’s version of the exit plan, if no trade deal with the UK resolved the issue of the border problem, Northern Ireland would effectively remain part of the single market. Mr Johnson added: ‘At every stage in the talks so far, Brussels gets what Brussels wants. ‘We have agreed to the EU’s timetable; we have agreed to hand over £39 billion, for nothing in return. ‘Under the Chequers proposal we are set to agree to accept their rules – forever – with no say on the making of those rules. ‘It is a humiliation. We look like a seven-stone weakling being comically bent out of shape by a 500lb gorilla.’ The prominent Brexiteer’s latest assault will fuel speculation about his own leadership ambitions. Mr Johnson quit the Cabinet in opposition to her Chequers plan which would see the UK remain closely aligned with EU rules on goods. But the plan and the UK’s alternative backstop would both mean ‘agreeing to take EU rules, with no say on those rules’, leaving the country a ‘vassal state’. He said: ‘We have managed to reduce the great British Brexit to two appalling options: either we must divide the Union, or the whole country must accept EU law forever.’ He claimed there are ‘far better technical solutions’ to the Irish border issue. His comments drew a furious response from Tory MP and ex-army officer Tom Tugendhat. ‘A suicide bomber murdered many in the courtyard of my office in Helmand,’ he said. “Comparing the PM to that isn’t funny.’