London, July 4 (IANS) Ex-London Mayor and Conservative party leader Boris Johnson has accused the government of failing to explain how the vote to leave the European Union (EU) can be made to work in Britain’s interests.
He wrote that it could not wait for a new PM to take office in September, the BBC reported on Monday.
He also said the Leave vote had led to “a kind of hysteria, a contagious mourning” among part of the population.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it would be “absurd” to say EU nationals can stay in Britain without a deal for British expats in the EU.
Hammond, who backed Remain and backs Theresa May for Conservative leadership, told BBC Radio 4 on Monday: “I hope we will be able to get to a position where we are able to say to those EU nationals who live in Britain, and to those Brits who live in EU countries, everything’s fine, you can stay as you were.
“When you go into a negotiation all the parts are moving, all the parts are on the table, and it would be absurd to make a unilateral commitment about EU nationals living in Britain without at the very least getting a similar commitment from the European Union about British nationals living in the EU.”
Johnson’s article in his weekly Daily Telegraph column contains his first detailed comments since he ruled himself out of the race to be the next Conservative leader.
He writes that the Remain side’s portrayal of Britain’s place outside the EU has led to a “contagious mourning” like that which followed the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
But, he said, the fears of people protesting against Brexit were “wildly overdone”.
“The reality is that the stock market has not plunged, as some said it would — far from it,” he wrote.
“The FTSE is higher than when the vote took place. There has been no emergency budget, and nor will there be.
“But the crowds of young people are experiencing the last psychological tremors of Project Fear — perhaps the most thoroughgoing government attempt to manipulate public opinion since the run-up to the Iraq War.”
Johnson called on the government to come up with a “clear statement” of “basic truths” about leaving the EU.
Among a list of five points of his own, Johnson said it was “overwhelmingly in the economic interests of the other EU countries to do a free-trade deal, with zero tariffs and quotas, while we extricate ourselves from the EU law-making system”.