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Boris Johnson faces backlash after comparing May's Brexit plans to a 'suicide vest' Open in fullscreen

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Boris Johnson faces backlash after comparing May's Brexit plans to a 'suicide vest'

Johnson's remarks drew widespread condemnation. [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 September, 2018

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Controversial UK MP Boris Johnson resigned from the government in July, over May's plan for Britain to retain close trade ties with the EU after Brexit.

UK MP Boris Johnson drew outrage on Sunday after comparing Prime Minister Theresa May's blueprint for Brexit to a "suicide vest".

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Johnson said the government's strategy for leaving the EU put the country in a "suicide vest", with Brussels holding the detonator.

Johnson resigned from the government in July over May's plan for the UK to retain close trade ties with the EU after Brexit.

The plan is known as "Chequers" after the prime minister's country retreat, where the agreement was hammered out with cabinet members.

"This is not a language that the prime minister would choose to use. Beyond that, I don't plan on giving this article further oxygen," the prime minister's spokesman said.

Johnson's remarks drew widespread condemnation. Leading MP Sir Alan Duncan called it "one of the most disgusting moments in modern British politics".

Another Conservative colleague Tom Tugendhat - a former army officer and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee - recalled on Twitter how he witnessed the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

"The carnage was disgusting, limbs and flesh hanging from trees and bushes. Brave men who stopped him killing me and others died In horrific pain. Some need to grow up. Comparing the PM to that isn't funny," he wrote.

Alistair Burt, a Foreign Office official, tweeted: "I'm stunned at the nature of this attack. There is no justification for such an outrageous, inappropriate and hurtful analogy."

Last month, Johnson was accused of fanning the flames of Islamophobia for comparing Muslim women who wore burqas to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers".

Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chairwoman, accused Johnson of adopting the "dog-whistle" tactics of right-wing Steve Bannon - US President Donald Trump's former top aide who has established ties with the British politician.

It recently emerged that Johnson - a potential frontrunner to be the next prime minister - is in "direct communication" with Bannon, who is the former head of far-right nationalist website Breitbart. 

Bannon is currently on a self-styled mission to help nationalists win seats in the European Union parliament.

The far-right commentator previously praised Johnson for his resignation over the Brexit issue.

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