UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at his Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester he was tabling "constructive and reasonable proposals" to the European Union in the hopes that a Brexit deal could finally be achieved, while revealing what he described as an "ace up my sleeve."
"I am going to quote that supreme authority in my family - my mother, and by the way for keen students of the divisions in my family on matters of the EU, I want you to know that I have kept the ace up my sleeve - my mother voted leave," he said on Wednesday.
As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is poised to unveil his Brexit plans for a new deal with the EU expected to bypass the contentious Irish backstop issue, his own family has reportedly suffered a bitter schism over Brexit.
Johnson publicly lashed out at his own sister Rachel Johnson on BBC News on 1 October, dismissing her claims that he was pursuing a No Deal Brexit to satisfy his Tory donors as “absolutely nonsense.”
The PM insisted:
“I love all my siblings and we are all very very close. Look, there are disagreements about the direction that we’re going with the relations with the EU.”
Earlier this year, the UK PM’s brother Jo Johnson, who voted to remain in 2016, resigned as a minister, citing a conflict between family loyalty and the national interest.
Netizens weighed in on Johnson’s revelation, with some noting the marked surprise this announcement drew from the PM’s Father:
Boris Johnson says his mother voted Leave. Camera cuts to his dad Stanley Johnson saying "I didn't know that."— Daniel Hewitt (@DanielHewittITV) October 2, 2019
Other Twitter fans drew parallels with the Brexit divisions in their own families:
My mother voted leave too. Regretted it though, a few days later, once she realised that Johnson had lied over the 350 million a week for the NHS.— Matt Launchbury 🔶🏴🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@corbet65) October 2, 2019
Bit of a Mommy’s boy eh?? There’s a surprise— jayniew 🌻 (@jayniew11) October 2, 2019
Not everyone appreciated Boris Johnson’s “dragging” his Mother into the fray:
It seemed odd to bring his Mother into the political debate given she has never voted Tory and is "partly thrilled" by Corbyn.https://t.co/q9Ta7vZ5oj— Nathan Walker (@descarteswalker) October 2, 2019
A public vote - or referendum - was held on 23 June 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 52% to 48%.
Brexit was due to happen on 29 March 2019. That was two years after then Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 - the formal process to leave - and kicked off negotiations with the EU.
Brexit has since been postponed amid the UK parliament's failure to reach agreement on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Previous Brexit deal proposals, put together by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, were rejected several times over the controversial Irish backstop.