Boris Johnson has claimed the crushing defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit proposal has boosted her negotiating hand in Brussels, as fresh problems emerged with no-deal plans.

The former foreign secretary said the Prime Minister should stop “dithering” and tell the EU the UK would not accept the backstop designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

He said the unprecedented 230-vote defeat on Tuesday had made it “overwhelmingly likely” that Brussels would make concessions to help Mrs May secure a revised deal.

Speaking at a JCB plant in Staffordshire, he said the UK Government should “fire up the engines, stop dithering, emulate the spirit of JCB and remove from our path the backstop that is the last Brussels-built blockage in the path of a global Britain”.

The EU, and Mrs May, have repeatedly said a backstop is vital to any form of Brexit. 

Mr Johnson said the Government could “use Brexit to unite the country”.

But the reality is much trickier, as highlighted by the UK Government admitting it had not yet finalised any of the 40 free-trade deals it would need for a no-deal Brexit.

In 2017, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the UK could “replicate the 40 free trade agreements before we leave the EU”, to avoid any disruption to commerce.

However not one has yet been signed, with the most advanced deal an initial agreement with Switzerland intended to mimic existing EU-Swiss arrangements “as far as possible”.

Asking on the BBC if the 40 deals would be signed by March 29, Dr Fox saidblamed others: “I hope they will be, but there are not just dependent on the UK. Our side is ready. It’s largely dependent on whether other countries believe that there will be no deal and are willing to put the work in to the preparations.”

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: “Once again, the Westminster government has failed to keep promises made to voters – and the entire justification for Brexit is left in tatters.  

“The UK is not just hurtling towards a no-deal Brexit, we’re facing a ‘no-deals’ Brexit.” 

There were also warnings of drug shortages as patients stockpiled their own medicines, such as insulin, in case of no deal.
The Commons battle resumes on Monday when the PM has to outline her “plan B”.

The opposition parties want Mrs May to extend the Article 50 process beyond March 29.

MPs are expected to try to amend a Government motion to secure time for a Bill tabled by former Labour minister Yvette Cooper to empower them further over Brexit.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer will today warn there are “no easy routes” out of the Westminster deadlock and ending it will take “open and frank debate”.

It was reported yesterday that Tory ministers want to stop Remain-voting Speaker John Bercow getting an automatic peerage because of perceived “bias” over Brexit and helping MPs get more control over the process.

A Cabinet source said: “It’s a good job – peerage nominations are in our gift. I can’t imagine we would look favourably on those who’ve cheated centuries of procedure.”

Mr Johnson said it would be “shameful” if the Prime Minister delayed Brexit.
He inaccurately denied using Turkey as part of the Leave campaign in 2016. 
Vote Leave adverts on social media said “Turkey (population 76m) is joining the EU” and claimed Britain’s new border would be “with Syria and Iraq”.

Insisting controlled immigration “can be a wonderful thing”, Mr Johnson said: “I didn’t say anything about Turkey in the referendum ... Since I made no remarks, I can’t disown them.”

However Mr Johnson made repeated references to Turkey before the EU vote. 
A week before polling day he and fellow Brexiteer Michael Gove wrote a joint letter saying: “The public will draw the reasonable conclusion that the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote leave and take back control on 23 June.”

And two days before the poll, he said in a BBC referendum debate: “It’s government policy to accelerate Turkish accession.” 

A grassroots campaign to remind Brexiters of their promises has raised £30,000 in a day.

The pro-Remain group Led by Donkeys plans to put awkward quotes on billboards across the country after the success of three “guerilla” posters featuring Mr Fox and Jacob-Rees Mogg. 

Meanwhile, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage MEP said he was ready to stand for re-election to Brussels as part of a new party in May’s EU election if Brexit is delayed. 

“I’m finding the right political vehicle to fight those European elections, if they happen,” he said, adding Leavers should prepare for a second EU referendum.
He told a Leave Means Leave meeting: “If I have to fight again against this lot, then believe me, next time.. it’s no more Mr Nice Guy.” The latest developments came as a Populus poll of 619 adults in Scotland found 69 per cent believe Brexit will make Scottish independence more likely.