BORIS JOHNSON challenged Jeremy Corbyn to finally “come clean” with the public over his chaotic Brexit plans before they head to the ballot box. The Prime Minister said voters “deserve to have a clear picture” of how each leader will handle the next steps.
Mr Johnson warned the country faces years of further delay if Mr Corbyn takes over the process. In a letter to the hard-left Opposition leader, he laid bare Labour’s record of Brexit betrayal and accused the party of planning to take the country “back to square one”. He wrote: “For months you have refused to say what sort of ‘deal’ you want with the EU. “Now the time has come for you to come clean, and explain what your plan really is so when the public vote on December 12th, they know what they are voting for.”
Mr Johnson asked his opponent to say explicitly if he believes the UK should leave the EU.
He said Labour must also make clear if it plans to keep the UK in the customs union, which would stop trade deals being struck with the rest of the world.
Mr Corbyn was also urged to put on the record whether he plans to end free movement if he takes power.
“After three years of delay, the public wants to get Brexit done,” Mr Johnson wrote. “We need a Parliament that is willing to allow this country to move on – that is why we are holding this election.
“They now need to know where you stand when it comes to Brexit.”
Labour has said it will renegotiate the withdrawal agreement then put the results to a second referendum.
But Mr Corbyn ducked questions at his election campaign launch last week about whether he would even vote in favour of the new deal he intends to strike.
The Prime Minister said his opponent must tell voters how he would campaign in a re-run poll and lay out the exact timetable and the cost of his plans.
He accused the Labour leader of a dismal record of delay and destruction, including through the “Surrender Act” that forced the government into asking Brussels for another extension.
He added: “For months you have sought to avoid explaining what your plan is for Brexit, and instead spent considerable time and energy seeking to undermine the negotiations, particularly with the passing of the Surrender Act.
“Despite your best efforts, I secured a great deal with the EU which takes back control of our trade, laws, money and borders. You then blocked that deal and forced yet another Brexit delay on the British people. This continued failure to honour the referendum result is undermining faith in our democracy and bringing uncertainty to our economy.
“Your current position seems to be that you want to go back to square one. You want to throw out the great new deal we have reached with our European friends, and instead negotiate a whole new treaty from scratch. Even assuming the EU agrees to go back to the very beginning, this will take months and possibly years to do – under your proposals, 2020 will be lost to more dither and delay over Brexit.”
Mr Johnson said Labour would put the country on course for more extensions, which would “prolong the divisions in our society”.
He warned forcing the public to vote in another referendum because the elite did not like the result would “destroy all faith in our democratic process”.
Downing Street ruled out extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020 after a Cabinet minister raised fears of delay by suggesting trade talks with Brussels will not be “straightforward”.
Mr Johnson’s withdrawal agreement sets December 31 next year as the deadline for signing off details of future relations.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the UK and EU are starting with the same rules and tariffs.
But she added: “Nothing ever is straightforward, I think we have learnt that from the last three years.”
The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman insisted there would be no delay.
“The government will not be extending the transition period,” he said.
Donald Trump hailed Mr Johnson as the “right man for the time” in a second endorsement since the election was called.
“Look, I think Boris is the right man for the time. He’s really for the times, he’s a great gentleman, he’s a wonderful guy, he’s tough, he’s smart and I think he’s going to do something,” he said.
But the US President again called for Mr Johnson to work with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, with whom he became friends during his presidential campaign.
Mr Farage, however, ignored warnings he will split the Leave vote and put Brexit at risk when he confirmed plans to field candidates in more than 600 constituencies.
Mr Corbyn will head out on the campaign trail today to claim Mr Johnson will strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the US that would mean “full market access” to the NHS, despite the Conservatives and the US president ruling out such a move.