Boris Johnson plays down Brexit border fears as 'millennium bug stuff' in leaked comments

He also suggested Donald Trump "might get somewhere" in the Brexit negotiations

Boris Johnson plays down Brexit border fears as 'millennium bug stuff' in leaked comments

Boris Johnson. Picture by: Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

Boris Johnson has suggested Donald Trump could do a better job than Theresa May of negotiating Brexit, and dismissed concerns over the border as 'pure millennium bug stuff'.

The British foreign secretary was recorded saying that 'Leave' supporters could be disappointed by the final deal reached with Brussels.

He also warned of a possible 'meltdown' in talks, saying Theresa May "is going to go into a phase where we are much more combative with Brussels,”

He made the comments to Tory MPs and activists during a dinner, with the recording leaked to Buzzfeed.

Imagining how President Trump would handle Brexit negotiations, Mr Johnson said: “He’d go in bloody hard.

"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.”

On the subject of Brexit plans, he added: "You have the guts to go for the independent policy, [or] you’re never going to get the economic benefits of Brexit."

He also played down concerns over the Irish border as “pure millennium bug stuff”, suggesting: “There are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it’s just beyond belief that we’re allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way.

"We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”

This afternoon, The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar rejected the comment and said Mr Johnson would benefit from a visit to the border before negotiations go any further.

It comes amid widely reported tensions between the British Prime Minster and her Brexit team.

Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell said the current situation is an embarrassment.

Speaking on the Pat Kenny Show, he observed: "This is the United Kingdom facing the most important set of decisions we've faced since the second World War... with a prime minister who's scared of her own shadow, and a foreign secretary who's a complete joke."