Boris Johnson Predicts ‘Some Plaster’ May Fall in Brexit Talks

  • Foreign secretary says May can land a deal, open up trade
  • Johnson says upcoming Brexit ‘negotiations will be tough’

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said “some plaster may fall off the ceiling” in the upcoming Brexit talks, the latest sign that U.K. officials are bracing for difficult exchanges with the European Union.

"Negotiations will be tough and some plaster may fall off the ceiling," Johnson said in a speech in London on Wednesday, before adding that Prime Minister Theresa May “can pull it off" and "usher in a new era of free trade deals.”

Johnson spoke as May hosted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the first time since she triggered two years of Brexit talks. His comments echoed the prediction made earlier in the day by Brexit Secretary David Davis that leaving the EU will not be easy.

“We will have difficult issues to confront,” Davis told the Prosperity UK conference. “Compromise will be necessary on both sides.”

In a sign of things to come, EU officials this week strengthened the language in their draft negotiating guidelines to add limits on banks and explicit demands on citizens’ residency rights.

Johnson also said the U.K. "intends to be the foremost campaigner for global free trade, so all our companies and all Britain’s people can benefit."

The Times reported on Wednesday that May was being told by Cabinet ministers to sideline Johnson in the election campaign.

Seemingly unbowed, he used his speech to make a pitch for re-electing the Conservative government by saying May is “determined” to provide “clear leadership to navigate this age of uncertainty.”

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