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“Taken from a article by James Forsyth in the Spectator”

 

Many Tories had doubts about David Cameron’s EU renegotiation, but only Boris Johnson was promised a piece of legislation to assuage his particular concerns. It was quite a compliment. The so-called Sovereignty Bill was, in effect, the Get Boris Onside Act. It was designed to deal with the Mayor of London’s fears about the relationship between the British parliament and courts and the EU. It was also mooted that Boris would be offered a top cabinet job — perhaps Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister was convinced that this combined offer would be enough to secure Boris for the ‘in’ campaign.

But a few days before the Brussels summit, when Oliver Letwin telephoned Boris to run through the Sovereignty Bill, he sensed trouble. As the conversation went on, Boris’s concerns seemed to multiply. Even if Cameron secured his deal, he said, EU law would still retain supremacy over UK law. And there was still no answer to the question, posed by Boris’s wife Marina Wheeler QC in The Spectator, about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Then Johnson told Letwin he was going to put the call on speakerphone while he consulted his dinner guest Michael Gove. The Lord Chancellor was already known to be tending towards supporting ‘out’. When Letwin finally put down the phone, the Tory leader-ship had to face the fact that Boris might follow Gove in backing Brexit. Perhaps this episode explains why Cameron was so short with the Mayor when they met the next day to discuss the matter.

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