UK minister warns of ‘disastrous’ Brexit reversal
Brexit referendum result can not be reversed and the U.K. should not be bound by European Union rules following Brexit, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a major speech on Wednesday.
Speaking in London, Johnson encouraged people who voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum and said they should not "gloat" about the U.K.'s departure from the bloc.
Johnson underlined that holding a second referendum on the U.K.'s membership to the EU would be a "disastrous mistake."
"I fear that some people are becoming ever more determined to stop Brexit, to reverse the referendum vote of June 23, 2016, and to frustrate the will of the people.
"I believe that would be a disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal. We cannot and will not let it happen," he said.
Johnson, who was one of the key figures in the Leave campaign before the referendum, said those who voted to leave must "unite about what we all believe in."
Describing the idea that the U.K.'s remaining under EU rules as "intolerable" and "undemocratic", Johnson said everything would "remain as they are" until the end of the transition period, which is to expire at the end of 2020.
British foreign secretary's speech came a few days after a plot to reverse Brexit surfaced.
The local media claimed last week that U.S. billionaire George Soros was behind a secret plot to reverse Brexit and keep the U.K. a member of the EU.
- SOROS PLOT
According to an article by The Telegraph, Soros is "one of the three senior figures linked to the Remain-supporting campaign group Best for Britain", who is currently planning to launch an advertising campaign this month with the hope of a second referendum, potentially to keep the country in the EU.
The group "also plans to target MPs and convince them to vote against the final Brexit deal to trigger another referendum or general election," according to a strategy document leaked from a meeting of the group.
The campaign, set to start by the end of February, must "wake the country up and assert that Brexit is not a done deal. That it's not too late to stop Brexit," according to a document the daily claimed to have seen.
The campaign group will pressure MPs from 100 constituencies that backed the Remain vote in the 2016 referendum, according to the reports.
"Boris needs to get into the real world ppl [people] are worried his #Brexit will harm our economy," Anna Soubry, one of the Conservative MPs who strongly thinks the U.K. should remain in the European single market and the customs union, said on Twitter in a reaction to Johnson's speech.
"And no mention of the Northern Ireland /Ireland hard border that will threaten peace & can only be solved by #CustomsUnion," she said, criticizing Johnson for not mentioning one of the sticky points in Brexit negotiations.
11 pro-European Conservative MPs acted with the opposition Labour Party last year in a key vote regarding EU citizens' rights.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to deliver a speech on the U.K.'s future relations with the EU next Saturday in the German city of Munich.
The U.K. is set to leave the European Union following a 2016 referendum that saw 52 percent of British voters opt to leave the bloc after 44 years of membership.
The date set for the exit is March 29, 2019 but a transition period, which the EU says will end in December 2020, is still to be agreed upon by the sides. May said she hoped a deal will be reached during an EU summit to be held in March.