Boris Johnson’s landmark Valentine’s Day Brexit speech has been widely derided by the Twitterati. Despite the foreign secretary seeking to reconcile with Remainers, his speech was dismissed for his perceived “double standards.”
Johnson attempted to paint an optimistic future for Brexit Britain, talking up the supposed economic benefits while dismissing the idea of holding a second referendum on the final EU-UK deal.
Labour MP David Lammy branded the speech a “waste of time,” while cautioning against having a person such as Johnson in government.
What a waste of time that speech was Boris. We’ve heard it all before. A few bad jokes, a few long words. No detail on Northern Ireland, no detail on EU relationship, no detail on anything. Government cannot just be an unsubstantiated assertion followed by a ruffle of one’s hair.
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) February 14, 2018
Labour MP Peter Kyle weighed in, posting: “This speech from Boris Johnson is indistinguishable from his before the referendum: a bland and generic wishlist, grotesquely exaggerated assertions, all predicated on nationalist sentiment and colonial sentimentality. Backward-looking clap-trap.”
The one-time Tory leadership hopeful stirred further outcry when he suggested people in the UK are clueless about the internal workings of the EU.
Acclaimed left-wing journalist Paul Mason turned Johnson’s comments back on the foreign secretary.
After 20 minutes of listening to @BorisJohnson I now understand that an entire govt department of experts have failed to explain to him what the EU does
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) February 14, 2018
During his speech, the Tory MP stated once again that the UK should not go through another EU referendum.
“[…] if there were to be a second vote I believe that we would simply have another year of wrangling and turmoil and feuding in which the whole country would lose,” Johnson said.
This prompted the response of renowned actor and writer David Schneider, who tweeted:
Boris Johnson makes speech saying he is convinced that reversing Brexit would be an absolute betrayal. As is traditional, he has also written a speech saying the opposite.
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) February 14, 2018
Johnson also singled out the economic situation of a post-Brexit Britain as one of the main concerns of the public.
He sought to quell any worries by saying that the UK will have more money to spend once it effectively withdraws from the bloc in 2019.
New Statesman political editor George Easton hastily countered the statement, writing:
Meanwhile, Huffington Post political editor Owen Bennett pointed out what he saw as the hypocrisy of Britain’s foreign secretary:
Boris Johnson doing a lot talking about the benefits of free movement for a man who led a campaign to end free movement
— Owen Bennett (@owenjbennett) February 14, 2018
Labour MP Chuka Umunna was baffled by Johnson’s “double standards”:
The double standards of @BorisJohnson are quite something – he is now lambasting the EU for not having open decision making when he and his Government have done all they can to withhold information on the impact of #Brexit from Parliament and the people we represent
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) February 14, 2018
Fellow Labour MP Yvette Cooper chimed in, saying: “Waffly, bumbling, empty speech. With 13 months to go we need practical answers & details from Govt, not just Boris Johnson bluster. Confirms my view – why on earth is anyone still taking this man seriously?”
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