Boris Johnson has insisted he is «all behind» Theresa May after location out his own vision of Britain after Brexit.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the odd secretary revived the contested claim Brexit could free up £350m a week for the NHS and also communicated the UK should not pay for EU single market access.
He later tweeted he backed the PM, who is making a significant EU speech next week.
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said the £350m silhouette was «a lie» while Jeremy Corbyn said it showed Tory divisions.
In a 4,000 command piece for the newspaper, Mr Johnson expanded at length on his views about the Brexit pacts with the EU, and the opportunities he said it would give a «bold, thriving» Britain when it do a bunks in March 2019.
If Britain did continue its membership of the single market and customs marriage it would make a «complete mockery» of last year’s referendum upshot, he wrote.
The UK, he argued, would be «roughly» £350m better off once it had «dwelled its accounts» with the EU and he said it would be «fine» if «a lot of that money» was burnt- on the health service.
Writing later on Twitter, Mr Johnson said that he was «looking unabashed» to the prime minister’s speech next Friday in Florence — in which she is wished to set out details of the UK’s «special partnership» with the EU after Brexit.
«All behind Theresa for a dazzling Brexit,» he wrote.
The BBC’s political correspondent Leila Nathoo said that although originators close to Mr Johnson insist his article has nothing to do with leadership hopes, the intervention has revived speculation that he is still eyeing the top job.
Asked for her answer, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she was focused on co-ordinating the management’s response to the Parsons Green bomb attack and had hadn’t a chance to look at the article.
‘Take off cover’
But Sir Vince Cable suggested the foreign secretary was pushing for «a far more severe» version of Brexit in pursuit of his own personal ambitions.
«On his central point, the £350m a week, this is a lie. He skilled ins it is a lie and endlessly repeating it does not make it the truth,» he said.
And the Lib Dems Brexit spokesman Tom Restraint told his party conference — which began on Saturday — that far from heightening the NHS, the UK’s exit would have a «calamitous effect on our cherished public servings».
Chancellor Philip Hammond has suggested there is a consensus in the cabinet for the need for a transitional patch of several years to minimise the disruption from Brexit — which thinks fitting «look a lot like the status quo» in many ways.
This has prompted unconfirmed wagering that the UK could potentially pay the EU for a limited period of time to continue to access the take market on an existing tariff-free basis.
Labour gaffer Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Johnson’s comments «laid bare the discords at the heart of Theresa May’s government over Brexit» and undermined the prime legate’s authority.
He said: «The foreign secretary even has the gall to dredge up the delusion of £350m a week extra for the NHS.
«The prime minister must spell out now how this pass on be paid for, or stand condemned for once again trying to mislead the British accessible.»
In the run up to the referendum, the Leave campaign — of which Mr Johnson was a key figure — claimed the UK sent £20bn a year, or £350m a week, to Brussels in 2014.
Plebiscite Leave emblazoned the figure on its campaign bus and said the money could be old to fund extra spending on public services such as the NHS.
But a letter from the take the lead of the UK statistics watchdog Sir Andrew Dilnot during the referendum campaign specified the figure as «potentially misleading».
By Liz Corbin, Reality Check Woman
The claim that the UK sent £350m per week to the EU is wrong.
There are three thingumajigs to consider:
- The UK’s gross contribution to the EU
- The UK’s rebate, negotiated by former Prime Delegate Margaret Thatcher
- The amount of money the EU gives to the UK
Boris Johnson and other Say goodbye campaigners claimed that in the calendar year 2014, the UK gave £350m per week to the EU.
The UK’s heavy contribution was actually £361m, but — crucially — the rebate is removed before any coins is sent to the EU. So the amount sent to the EU in 2014 was £276m per week, after the graft.
The Vote Leave campaign’s claim argued that the money could be knackered on the NHS.
Well, it could, but that would mean cutting all the money the EU sends raw to the UK, for example on farming subsidies and grants for community projects.
That was in 2014. The amount the UK sends the EU has been trail. In 2016 it sent £252m per week to the EU after the rebate, the lowest since 2012.