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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Boris Johnson launches series of major cabinet speeches about Brexit

The foreign secretary will attempt to build bridges with remainers by painting a bright future for Britain

Mr Johnson will say that departing from the EU is “not grounds for fear, but hope” as he sets out how the country can move on from the divisions of the past. Toby Melville / Reuters
Mr Johnson will say that departing from the EU is “not grounds for fear, but hope” as he sets out how the country can move on from the divisions of the past. Toby Melville / Reuters

Leaving the European Union will allow Britain to become more outward-facing and liberal, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will announce in the first of a series of key speeches being given on Brexit by cabinet ministers over the next few days.

Mr Johnson will say that departing from the EU is “not grounds for fear, but hope” as he sets out how the country can move on from the divisions of the past and take on a more global role while thriving as an independent nation.

“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,” Mr Johnson will say.

“But if we are to carry this project through to national success – as we must – then we must also reach out to those who still have anxieties.

“I want to try … to anatomise at least some of those fears and to show to the best of my ability that they are unfounded, and that the very opposite is usually true: that Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope.”

In an attempt to build bridges with the 48 per cent of the country who voted to remain in Europe, he will recognise their fears about Brexit.

“It is not good enough to say to remainers – you lost, get over it; because we must accept that many are actuated by entirely noble sentiments, a real sense of solidarity with our European neighbours and a desire for the UK to succeed,” the foreign secretary will say.

The foreign secretary’s speech will be followed by Prime Minister Theresa May giving a speech on security ties to Europe at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. She is expected to announce that the UK will remain a part of the European arrest warrant after Brexit and also stay in the continent-wide law enforcement agency Europol.

David Davis, the Brexit secretary, will make a speech about business in the post-Brexit world, and his fellow hardliner Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, will expound on global deals.