World

Johnson tries to reassure allies on Brexit

WELLINGTON: Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson yesterday appeared to deny there was any infighting within the governing Conservative party. On a visit to New Zealand, he also said the country was near the top of the queue for a trade deal after Brexit.

Mr Johnson played down recent media reports of a tussle in the party between those who favoured remaining in the European Union and the faction that backed the successful Leave campaign in last year's referendum.

Britain has begun negotiations with the EU, but its government has seemed to be at war with itself over the divorce terms.

Asked whether the infighting within the party could compromise Britain's ability to clinch a timely, Brexit deal, Mr Johnson said: "I don't wish in any way to sound complacent but I have been travelling in Japan and the now beautiful New Zealand and any such activities completely passed me by.... no one has sent me news of any such infighting."

He told a news conference in the New Zealand capital: "Our friends and partners around the world can be confident that we are going to get this thing done and done in style."

Mr Johnson, whose backing helped secure a four-point victory for the Leave camp in June last year, said that no one would be worse off as a result of Brexit, including New Zealand.

He said New Zealand was near the front of the queue for a trade deal with Britain once the latter left the EU. - REUTERS

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