Boris Johnson warns of a period of ‘storm and stress’ in Parliament over Brexit

The Foreign Secretary was reacting to the resignation of a third Tory MP in two months

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Friday 04 November 2016 14:46
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Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Parliament is going through a period of “storm and stress” over Brexit, Boris Johnson has warned – as a third Tory MP steps down in two months.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin after meetings with his German counterpart the Foreign Secretary was asked about the resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips on Friday morning.

Mr Johnson urged the German press to ignore what he called the sturm und drang amongst MPs and the High Court’s recent finding against the Government, arguing that it was of little consequence in the long-run.

“I would really not read too much into the legal decision you’ve just seen today or indeed some of the sturm und drang that’s going on in the Parliament at the moment,” he said.

“I think the direction is very clear: the will of the British people was expressed every clearly, and it’s the decision of the Government to get on and make that work.”

“Sturm und drang” is a German idiom that refers to the free expression of emotion, usually in a literary context.

The Foreign Secretary, long known for his colourful turns of phrase, raised eyebrows earlier this week when he said Britain would make a “titanic success” of Brexit.

Though Mr Johnson had been referring to the Titans – fictional giants of classical literature – he was widely assumed to have referred to the Titanic, a supposedly unsinkable ship that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage.

Mr Phillips stepped down as an MP this morning citing “irreconcilable policy differences” with Theresa May – as divisions in the Conservative party over the EU begin to strain.

Mr Phillips, a QC and the MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, said he could no longer represent his consituents because of Ms May’s policy direction since she came to office.

Though in favour of Brexit he has long advocated remaining in the single market.

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