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19 Jul, 2022 16:07

Boris Johnson claims ‘deep state’ plot against Brexit

The UK prime minister, due to leave office in September, has warned that his successors could try to rejoin the EU
Boris Johnson claims ‘deep state’ plot against Brexit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed in parliament on Monday that the Labour Party and the so-called “deep state” would try to rejoin the European Union once he leaves office in September. Labour leader Keir Starmer called Johnson’s comments “delusional.”

With a Conservative Party contest to replace Johnson currently in full swing, the embattled prime minister won a confidence vote in parliament on Monday, ensuring that he will remain in office until his party names a successor in September. The vote was called by the government itself, in response to a Labour Party motion to censure Johnson.

“Some people will say as I leave office that this is the end of Brexit… and the leader of the opposition and the deep state will prevail in its plot to haul us back into alignment with the EU as a prelude to our eventual return,” Johnson declared before the vote.

“We on this side of the House will prove them wrong, won’t we?” he continued, in a question directed at Tory MPs.

Popularized by former US President Donald Trump, the “deep state” is a phrase used to denote the legions of government bureaucrats, intelligence operatives and aides who, despite being unelected, work to shape policy. Trump repeatedly accused these officials of working to stymie his agenda throughout his presidency.

Johnson named Starmer, the Scottish independence movement and the Liberal Democrats as players in the supposed “deep state” plot, but did not point the finger at any perceived culprits within the civil service.

While Starmer campaigned in 2019 for a second referendum aimed at overturning the 2016 vote to leave the EU, he has since about-turned on Brexit. While he described the result of the referendum as “catastrophic,” he vowed earlier this month not to attempt to bring the UK back into the EU’s single market or customs union, and said that he would “make Brexit work.”

Johnson was doubtful. “Be in no doubt, if he were ever to come to power with his hopeless coalition of Liberal Democrats and Scottish nationalists, he would try to do so again at the drop of a hat,” the prime minister said of Starmer and his failed attempts to “overturn the will of the people.”

“The delusion is never-ending,” Starmer responded. “What a relief for the country that they finally got round to sacking him.”

Just three candidates remain in the running to succeed Johnson, with one set for elimination after a penultimate round of voting concludes on Wednesday. Former chancellor Rishi Sunak is currently pulling in the most votes, with trade minister Penny Mordaunt and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss following in second and third places respectively.

Once the list is narrowed down to two candidates, the Conservative Party’s 150,000 or so members nationwide will take part in a postal vote to determine a winner.