Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was put on the spot by Reading East MP Matt Rodda in an Oral Question relating to diplomatic co-operation on leaving the European Union in Parliament yesterday.

Matt asked:
“What assessment he has made of the strength of the UK’s future diplomatic cooperation with its current EU partners after leaving the EU?”

Matt’s question was echoed by the honourable Member for Labour for Enfield and
Southgate, Bambos Charalambous, who also chimed in:
“What assessment he has made of the strength of the UK’s future diplomatic cooperation with its current EU partners after leaving the EU?”

Johnson replied that the Government was seeking a ‘deep and special partnership with the EU’post Brexit -; a phrase that is seemingly used with the same frequency and shallowness as the ‘strong and stable’ narrative of recent times. The Foreign Secretary further commented that the existing relationship provided for a ‘strong foundation’for vital continued co-operation on global challenges. He also claimed that he was working to strengthen the bilateral relationships with the UK’s European partners.

Undeterred, the Reading East MP continued to press the Foreign Secretary for a substantive response. Referring to the speech made by the Foreign Secretary a week earlier, Matt said:
” The Foreign Secretary’s 5,000-word speech on Brexit last week was described by one of his ministerial colleagues as follows:

“He is completely in denial about the complexity of the exit and the negative economicÂ…consequences.”

Will the Foreign Secretary clear something up? Is he in denial or is he just wrong?”

The Foreign Secretary’s response added nothing to the debate. He said:
“If I may, I will respectfully resist the alternatives that the honourable Gentleman lays before me. Last week, I was trying to make the point that we now have a massive opportunity to come together-people who voted remain and people who voted leave-to get a positive arrangement and a positive Brexit that will be of massive benefit to people both in this country and in the whole of the European continent. If we are ambitious and positive, I have absolutely no doubt that we can pull it off.”

Following the session and the responses from Boris Johnson, Matt had the following
comment to make. He said:
“I think that the Foreign Secretary’s replies illustrate a lack of understanding of the scale of the impact of Brexit, both on a global economic scale but also in reference to the considerable effect it will have on business and organisational relationships in
constituencies such as mine -; which is situated in the heart of the Thames Valley technology triangle.”

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