United Kingdom to offer €20bn for Brexit divorce bill, report says

Boris Johnson has changed his schedule to fly back from NY on the prime minister's plane, before a specially convened cabinet meeting on Thursday morning to discuss Brexit.

Mr Johnson's intervention - and speculation about his future - has dominated the run-up to the crucial Brexit speech being delivered by Mrs May in Florence.

Many grassroots Tories support Mr Johnson's calls for a hard Brexit, with no cash payment for single market access and billions extra spent on the NHS.

Despite the challenge to her authority, May sought to brush off the controversy during a trip to Canada on Monday, referring to his reputation for gaffes by saying "Boris is Boris".

Friends of Johnson told the newspaper he "could not live with" the version of Brexit under consideration, which prompted the publication of his personal blueprint for Brexit in the Telegraph at the weekend.

May will convene a special meeting of her cabinet on Thursday, to consult colleagues about her speech on Friday.

"The PM has said consistently that she values the contribution of people from across the cabinet, and clearly this is a significant moment in terms of our progress, and in terms of our relationship with Europe".

But, in pattern that lobby journalists say is becoming increasingly obvious, Johnson has insisted that he is shocked by the fall-out from the media storm that he single-handedly whipped up.

The foreign secretary was ambushed by journalists in NY after he returned from a run.

Within Mr Johnson's "hard" Brexit thesis was repetition of the claim Britain would recoup £350m a week by leaving the EU.

The foreign secretary said: "Not me, guv".

The Foreign Secretary is understood to accept the idea of the United Kingdom paying its dues to Brussels during a transition period - but not for continued payments for access to the European single market on a permanent basis.

Mr Johnson is understood to have misgivings about suggestions that Britain could remain closely tied to Brussels for years ahead after formally leaving the European Union in March 2017.

Downing Street denied that the prime minister had adjusted her speech to allow for concessions to Johnson to be written in.

Mr Johnson released his Brexit vision just as the rest of the Cabinet was mostly coming together around a common stance for the split.

But asked whether Mr Johnson should be dismissed, the Prime Minister said: "Boris is doing good work as Foreign Secretary".

  • Tracy Klein