Boris Johnson has suffered a blow to his efforts to woo hardline Brexiteers after a senior Eurosceptic MP snubbed his offer of a government job.

Steve Baker, a leading member of the Tory European Research Group, warned the new prime minister that “disaster awaits” if Brexit is not delivered by 31 October as he turned down attempts to bring him into the Brexit department.

The row comes as Mr Johnson was seeking to shift focus to his domestic agenda with a pledge to hire 20,000 extra police officers, which will be unveiled on a trip to the West Midlands on Friday.

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Woody Johnson also said the PM’s criticism of the president’s “go back” comments about the four Democratic congresswomen of colour would not jeopardise UK-US relations.

Asked whether Mr Trump would hold the comments against the PM, the ambassador told Today: “I think the president is going to try and move the ball forward.

“The UK is our most important ally both in security and also in prosperity, you are very important and he knows that and he’s made some comments regarding a free trade agreement and putting the UK at the front of the line.”

The US ambassador to the UK has compared Boris Johnson to Donald Trump and predicted a “sensational” relationship between them.

Woody Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think both of these leaders have their own style but they have similarities. And I think they have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish.”

He was asked whether Mr Trump was aware that the prime minister accused then-candidate Mr Trump of “stupefying ignorance” and being unfit to hold office.

“I’m sure he does,” the ambassador said.

“I think that may have been an odd comment at the time.

“Donald Trump is going to say what he wants to say, when he wants to say it, and he will comment on injustices or inabilities or how he sees it, and I think he respects Boris for the same. Boris is going to call it as he sees it.

“I think they have so much more in common in terms of what they want to accomplish for the good of both of our nations.”

Boris Johnson has vowed to urgently relax stop and search restrictions for police officers across the UK, in a controversial first full policy announcement as prime minister.

Downing Street said that a trial scheme designed to make it easier for officers to conduct searches would be “urgently” reviewed, with a view to extending it across the whole country. 

Mr Johnson also vowed to begin the process of recruiting 20,000 new police officers within “weeks”, saying the Home Office would launch the recruitment drive in September. 

He is expected to announce the policy later today, during a trip to the West Midlands:

In a further sign of the ERG’s stance, the group’s vice-chairman Mark Francois said it would oppose any attempt by Mr Johnson to bring back the deal thrashed out with Brussels, even if he succeeded in removing the Irish backstop – the most contentious element of the divorce deal.

He told the BBC’s Newsnight: “If there were any attempt to revive the Withdrawal Agreement, even without the backstop, the ERG would vote against it.”

One of the big stories overnight is Brexiteer Steve Baker’s decision to snub a job offer from Boris Johnson. Baker was previously a Brexit minister but resigned in protest at the government Brexit strategy.


He was offered another role at the Brexit department but he said he could not repeat the feeling of “powerlessness” he experienced.


Baker is a senior figure in the European Research Group (ERG) of backbench Tories – a key Eurosceptic faction, which played a large part in Theresa May’s failure to pass her Brexit deal.


His refusal to serve is a sign of the challenges the new PM faces.


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