Boris Johnson has criticised the UK government’s Brexit talks strategy, saying it lacks “guts” and suggested Donald Trump could do a better job.
The foreign secretary also took a swipe at Chancellor Philip Hammond, calling the Treasury “the heart of Remain”, in comments to a private dinner.
He said the Brexit talks were heading for “meltdown” and Leave supporters may not get the deal they expected.
Friends of Mr Johnson said they were disappointed he had been recorded.
In the recording, obtained by Buzzfeed, Mr Johnson warns the UK could remain “locked in orbit around the EU” and claimed the Irish border issue – one of the main sticking points in talks with Brussels – had been allowed to dictate “the whole of our agenda”
“It’s so small and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it’s just beyond belief that we’re allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way,” he said.
The foreign secretary was apparently speaking to around 20 people in a private room after an Institute of Directors reception on Wednesday night.
It follows a day of wrangling over the government’s “backstop” plan in the event of no customs deal being agreed before Brexit.