Commons defeat will not stop Brexit, says Boris Johnson

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Boris Johnson has denied that Wednesday night's vote giving Parliament a say on the final Brexit deal could delay or reverse Britain's exit from the EU.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and their Japanese counterparts, he said: "In my view it won't for one second stop the Brexit process.

"It's going to go on and we will get it done in a very successful and a very timely way.

"Of course it's right that Parliament should have a vote on the final deal. That was always going to be the case. I don't think last night's vote really changes those facts."

He continued: "I can't believe for the life of me that Parliament will actually vote to stop or reverse the Brexit process or frustrate the will of the British people. That's just not going to happen."

Mr Johnson and Mr Williamson hosted Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich on Thursday.

They met for the third annual "UK-Japan 2+2" talks to discuss issues including the growing threat from North Korea's nuclear programme and joint exercises between the two nations' militaries.

Mr Johnson said that Japan's ongoing investment in the UK following the Brexit vote indicated the Japanese were "full of confidence in what we are doing" and that the Government was committed to ensuring Britain "remains the best place in this hemisphere to come and invest and develop your companies".

Mr Kono emphasised the need for "tractability and transparency" for Japanese investors and "the mutual recognition of standards, equipment and judicial support" once Britain leaves the EU, something Mr Johnson said would be achieved "readily and speedily".

Boris Johnson shakes hands with Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the Foreign office in London (Tolga Akmen/PA)
Boris Johnson shakes hands with Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the Foreign office in London (Tolga Akmen/PA)

When asked if he feared a pre-emptive military strike on the isolated state by the US, Mr Johnson replied: "This is something where Japan and the UK really see eye to eye.

"The best way forward now is to intensify the economic pressure on North Korea and the people who can really do that are the Chinese and that's where all our international efforts are focused.

"I don't really see any incoherency or disjuncture in the international arena, anyone can see how to get this done."

He added: "The military options don't look attractive, we don't want to see a military solution, I think I speak for both the UK and Japan. That's why we want to see an intensified diplomatic effort."

It emerged that British troops will be sent to Japan next year for joint ground exercises while HMS Argyll and HMS Sutherland will also be heading to the Asia Pacific region for exercises in 2018.

Also under discussion were UK-Japanese collaboration on developing military equipment and a feasibility study on a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) Phase 2, Islamic terrorism, the growing threat of cyber crime to national security and the possibility of increased intelligence sharing on international cyber criminals.

Following an earlier tour of Japanese naval artefacts on display in the museum, Mr Johnson said: "Looking at the maritime history of the countries and the identity that we share, it's confirmation again that we are two countries with the same values, the same outlook and increasingly the same interests in the world."