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Boris Johnson suggests U.K. needs to act like Trump on Brexit

Referring to the president, Britain's foreign secretary said he's "become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness."
Image: British Foreign Secretary Johnson holds a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg in Brussels
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.Reuters

LONDON — Britain's foreign secretary suggested a Trump-style approach might achieve more in Brexit talks than what the U.K. government is currently doing, according to an audio recording obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Boris Johnson warned a private dinner of supporters of his Conservative party in London on Wednesday night that negotiations with Brussels were heading toward a “meltdown,” according to the leaked audio. He said Brexit supporters risked getting a far worse deal than they had expected.

The foreign secretary reportedly said he had become “increasingly admiring of Donald Trump,” adding that he had “become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness.”

“Imagine Trump doing Brexit,” BuzzFeed quoted Johnson as saying. “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.”

Johnson’s comments — made at the Institute of Directors to members of a right-wing campaign group called Conservative Way Forward — came as pressure was already mounting on Prime Minister Theresa May from within her own government over Brexit.

The European Union has called for more clarity from the U.K. ahead of a key summit in Brussels later this month.

Britain is set to leave the E.U. in March, but the government has been paralyzed by internal divisions over the country’s future relationship with the E.U. after Brexit.

Johnson said he thought May would soon become “much more combative with Brussels,” according to BuzzFeed.

“You’ve got to face the fact there may now be a meltdown. OK? I don’t want anybody to panic during the meltdown," he said. "It’s going to be all right in the end."