Boris Johnson warns of Brexit betrayal backlash against ‘deep state’

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said that any move by Parliament to try and frustrate Brexit would be seen by voters as a "betrayal" by the "deep state".

The arch-Brexiteer said attempts to thwart EU withdrawal on March 29 would amount to "playing with fire".

Mr Johnson also indicated that he regretted pulling out of the Tory leadership race in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum.

The ex-Cabinet minister was scathing about "plots" by some MPs to try and give Parliament more control over the Brexit agenda.

Mr Johnson told LBC: "I notice all this stuff about complicated jiggery-pokery for Parliament to frustrate the deal.

"I don't think that really can be done. I think that we are really playing with fire."

Mr Johnson said that voters would feel betrayed if Parliament tried to thwart EU withdrawal.

He said: "I think that people will feel betrayed.

"And I think they will feel that there has been a great conspiracy by the deep state of the UK, the people who really run the country."

Asked about what would happen when the Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: "I think the deal goes down.

"I think, possibly, some colleagues are being scared by this idea that there might be no Brexit as a result of voting it down. I think that's nonsense.

"Britain will leave in March, absolutely, and that's the bottom line."

Asked if he had "bottled" his chance to be Tory leader and prime minister in 2016, Mr Johnson signalled he had second thoughts on withdrawing from the contest to succeed David Cameron.

Mr Johnson said: "In retrospect if I had my time again I might have done things differently."