Former Foreign Secretary Boris Jonson, rated to be the favourite of the Conservative leadership race, flunked at the interview-turned-grilling with BBC journalist Andrew Neil, prompting a storm on Twitter. The presenter enquired about Johnson's plan to use the GATT 24 clause in case of a no-deal Brexit by 31 October and carry on trading with the bloc, pending the agreement if there is a “standstill.”
GATT stands for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, stricken after World War Two and replaced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the 90s, but used until today.
Boris Johnson passionately defended an idea to act on Paragraph 5(b) of Article 24 of this agreement despite doubts, voiced by critics, including the Governor of the Bank of England. It allows countries to have an "interim agreement" while they are forming a customs union.
During the heated exchange, he slammed the journalist for calling the clause Article 5B instead of referring to it as a Paragraph and said: “Get the detail right, Andrew.”
But when the presenter confronted him on how he would go around the next Paragraph 5(c) of this very Article 24, which demands “a plan and schedule for the formation of such a customs union”, the interview went downhill for Johnson. First, he repeated that he would confide in Paragraph 5(b). When Neil directly asked him if he knew what the 5(c) part suggests, Johnson admitted that he does not.
Neil further teased him, saying “I thought you were a man of detail” and schooling on its content, demanding that the future shape of the possible union and a timetable should exist.
However, Johnson refused to back down, criticising “defeatism” and “negativity”.
“Why can’t we rely on the common sense and goodwill of those parties to get this done?” Johnson asked.
His response did not seem satisfying to online commenters. Grilled in the TV studio, he was roasted online as well.
https://t.co/XN1Pur5ckt more evidence Boris is not the right person for the job— little brother (@littlebrother5) July 13, 2019
Related video: Boris Johnson gets grilled on Gatt 24 by Andrew Neil— James robertson (@jimmytheplant) July 13, 2019
Tory leadership: Voters nearly 20 times more likely to describe Boris Johnson as ‘buffoon’ than ‘statesman’ 100%https://t.co/UAD7WOjQ9p
F*** me I'm trying to enjoy my holiday and Boris Johnson just admitted he LITERALLY HASN'T READ GATT 24, the article he's basing his entire Brexit plan on!— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) July 12, 2019
Flaming %£=#! on a ©¥¢$ing #&@)&-castle!#BBCOurNextPM https://t.co/dzw5u5cPtV