Published: Tue, September 26, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Ball in EU's court' as Boris Johnson gets ping-pong present

Ball in EU's court' as Boris Johnson gets ping-pong present

It is not the first time Mr Johnson has been associated with table-tennis, after claiming to Chinese hosts at the end of the 2008 Beijing Olympics that ping-pong was invented on the dining tables of England in the 19th century, when it was called "wiff-waff".

It claims that a "triumvirate" plan was hatched under which Johnson would lead the United Kingdom as the new prime minister, Brexit Secretary Davis would handle European Union withdrawal and Hammond would run the country s finances.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday received a toy table-tennis set from his Czech counterpart, a gift intended as a reflection of his country's back-and-forth talks with the EU.

But Mr Davis brushed off the claims, telling BBC1's Andrew Marr show: "The policy in the Prime Minister's speech had been coming for a long time".

They said he had stopped Mrs May from backing the so-called "Norway option", under which Britain would have permanent access to the EU's single market in return for payment and abiding by its rules. Some of it we were designing months ago.

It comes after reports at the weekend that Mr Hammond had texted Boris Johnson on the night of the Conservative's disastrous result offering his support. "I don't think there has been any change in policy in the last few weeks".

A former Conservative foreign secretary has dismissed the idea Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond were plotting to oust Theresa May after the June General Election.

"I think you will see next week at our party conference that the party is clear and unified behind Theresa May, delivering us a Brexit that works for Britain", the chancellor said.

The account by Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, gives details of how the prime minister came closer to being toppled than has been publicly acknowledged.

"So far as one can tell, this wasn't a plot to overthrow her, it was what happens if she chooses to resign as David Cameron had done".

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