London/United Kingdom. The Sunday Express has been given details of what the powerful European Research Group believe is Mr Johnson’s blueprint to get Britain out of the EU without further delay. And he will sack civil servants and ministers who fail to get the job done, senior members of his team have claimed. According to sources, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith could be appointed deputy prime minister in charge of an expanded Cabinet Office which will take in the Brexit Department.
Ministers and civil service cabinet secretaries in charge of departments will have their summer holidays cancelled and be expected to report to Mr Johnson each week on no-deal preparations.
In the meantime, sources expect Theresa May’s unsuccessful deal to be ditched.
The Government will instead offer the EU an exchange of letters based on article 24 of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs to keep goods and services open tariff-free, while a trade deal is worked out.
In the meantime, they are urging Mr Johnson to fly out to the US on November 1, potentially the day after Brexit, to start trade talks with President Donald Trump and be ready to give Britain a good deal.
A senior source said: “All the resources and goods we need can be bought from America, so if we have a trade deal in place with the US it will allow us to force the EU to give us much better terms.”
While the GATT 24 agreement is in place, there will be no need for a backstop with Northern Ireland and Ireland, and the trade deal can include putting alternative arrangements in place.
One of the MPs in the frame to be Northern Ireland secretary is Owen Paterson, who held the role between 2010 and 2012, and is respected by both the DUP and Irish government.
A source said: “Owen is on top of the detail and knows how to keep both sides calm while trade talks are ongoing.”
The £39billion promised to the EU will be taken off the table with some of it given back if they agree to GATT 24 and the rest handed over if a trade deal is agreed.
One senior MP said: “We shouldn’t pay the EU a penny but we definitely should not give them anything unless they agree to a way forward with GATT 24.”
The MP added: “Boris is up for that plan and knows that is what needs to be done.”
Speaking at the hustings in Birmingham yesterday, Mr Johnson said it was a dark time for the Tories, because the failure to deliver Brexit had pushed the party to just 17 points in the polls and a mere nine per cent in the recent Euro elections.
He said: “The hour is darkest before dawn.” He then added: “I am the man to deliver Brexit.”
He said that he would “disaggregate the elements of the withdrawal agreement”, such as citizens’ rights, which were acceptable and “reserve the payment of the £39billion”.
He added: “I am utterly convinced that with the right energy and the right commitment, common sense will prevail. But we must also be prepared for a no-deal Brexit.
“That is how we will get the deal we want.
Boris Johnson Slams Corbyn and his ‘deranged’ plans
“Once we’ve delivered Brexit on time we can get on with a modern Conservative agenda.
“I want to unite the country and unite society, as I did in London.”
The plans for a US trade deal follow on from President Trump’s recent state visit to the UK, where he praised the relationship with the US as “the greatest alliance the world has ever known”.
The President promised: “As the UK makes preparations to exit the European Union, the United States is committed to a phenomenal trade deal between the US and the UK.
“There is tremendous potential in that trade deal. I’d say probably two and even three times of what we are doing right now.”