Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has used his Telegraph column to urge the UK to ‘chuck Chequers’, and says the economic crisis in Greece is a cautionary tale.
In the column - which Johnson also published in full on his Facebook page - he wrote: “...the experience of Greece alone is a lesson in the absolute insanity of any country allowing itself to be bullied by EU negotiators”.
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“Drive around any big Greek city, away from the tourist spots, and in every boarded-up building and smashed window you see the devastation of Greek industry – which, in three years from 2010, went from boasting 80,000 factories to 57,000,” he continued.
“Overall unemployment is still running at 20 per cent; the economy is still a quarter smaller than in 2008; and there are an astonishing 35% of people living in absolute poverty.”
He blames the economic downturn on Greece “meekly [obeying] the prescriptions of Brussels”.
Greece has just completed the third period of a €289bn (£260bn) EU bailout, and will have its spending capped for the nexxt 42 years.
‘We are about to make a historic mistake’
Graffiti in Athens. Image: Getty
Relating the crisis back to Brexit, Johnson claims that the could “legislate with the UK out of the room” if the country were to leave on terms of the Chequers proposal.
Chequers, which saw Johnson quit as Foreign Secretary and David Davis leave his position as Brexit Secretary, seeks to maintain a trade area in which goods can move freely between the UK and the EU.
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However, Johnson, Davis and other Brexiteer politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Iain Duncan Smith, favour a no-deal option which would see the UK trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which is how it trades with non-EU countries.
“That [the situation in Greece] has a direct read-across for Britain,” wrote Johnson.
“Under the Chequers proposals, we are about to make a historic mistake and turn this country into a rules-taker from Brussels, with no say on those rules...
“Look at the humiliation of Greece – an EU member – and ask yourself how the EU will legislate with the UK out of the room, and when we can no longer do anything to protect ourselves from the imposition of those rules.
“Will the EU act in our interests and the interests of UK jobs and growth, or the interests of the EU?
“The answer is clear. It is written in graffiti all over Greece… Chuck Chequers.”