Boris Johnson to launch right-wing hard Brexit think tank

Written by Agnes Chambre on 27 September 2017 in News

'Institute of Free Trade' think tank to be launched at the Foreign Office

Boris Johnson - PA

Boris Johnson is to host the launch of a right wing think tank pushing for hard Brexit, just days after the Prime Minister's key Florence speech.

Liam Fox is also intending to speak at the launch of the Institute for Free Trade think tank, which will be hosted at the Foreign Office.

The Foreign Secretary, along with Development Secretary Priti Patel, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Iceland’s Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson and Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, will call for Britain to create independent trading arrangements with growing economies around the world and ditch European product standards.

Johnson’s involvement is likely to stoke tensions with Theresa May, who used her speech in Florence last Friday to say she was looking for a post-Brexit transition deal of around two years, during which Britain would continue paying into the EU budget in return for access to the single market.

Last week, the Foreign Secretary set out his own vision of Brexit in a 4,000 word article in Daily Telegraph.

He has since reportedly boasted the piece influenced the Government’s stance, reducing the length of the transition period against the wishes of the Chancellor.

In a speech later today, he will say: "Free trade is not only the key to economic success, but also serves as a force for peace and progress in every sense, giving millions more people the chance to lift themselves out of poverty.

"We must ensure that Global Britain breaks free of the constraints of the EU and becomes the world's leading proselytiser and agitator for free trade."

Meanwhile, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has said Britain should start to prepare for a 'no deal' scenario as he accused the EU of "arrogant behaviour". 

"We are not supplicants begging for favours from the EU. As the Prime Minister has said, we are interested in an arrangement that suits us both. The arrogant behaviour of the EU so far, bordering on the deliberately offensive, is a bluff that we need to call," he wrote in Conservative Home.

"The first is that we publicly, and through strong cabinet leadership, make it clear that we are going to throw resources at the plans for leaving the EU without an agreement. We need to up the pace dramatically on the process, giving regular public updates on progress."

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