Boris Johnson Warns Against a Brexit Do-Over

“I fear that some people are becoming ever more determined to stop Brexit, to reverse the referendum vote of June 23, 2016, and to frustrate the will of the people,”’ Mr. Johnson was expected to say.

“I believe that would be a disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal,” the speech continues. “We cannot and will not let it happen.”

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Boris Johnson Warns Against a Brexit Do-Over
Boris Johnson Warns Against a Brexit Do-Over

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In more conciliatory language, Mr. Johnson was expected to try to reassure those who have continuing — or growing — doubts about the policy that “Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope.”

“It is not good enough to say to Remainers — you lost, get over it; because we must accept that many are actuated by entirely noble sentiments, a real sense of solidarity with our European neighbors and a desire for the U.K. to succeed,” he was expected to say.

But on substance Mr. Johnson seems to be yielding nothing. Writing in the Sun newspaper, he pushed back against those — including some fellow Conservative lawmakers and members of the cabinet — who want to remain close to European Union’s customs union and single market after Brexit.

“To those who worry about coming out of the customs union or the single market, please bear in mind that the economic benefits of membership are nothing like as conspicuous or irrefutable as is sometimes claimed,” he wrote.

“It is only by taking back control of our laws that U.K. firms and entrepreneurs will have the freedom to innovate, without the risk of having to comply with some directive devised by Brussels, at the urgings of some lobby group, with the aim of holding back a U.K. competitor.”

“That would be intolerable, undemocratic and would make it all but impossible for us to do serious free trade deals,” he added.

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