Brexit: Boris Johnson weakened before the final sprint

As Brexit negotiations resume on Monday, Boris Johnson has not made any shattering preliminary statements about a possible no-deal exit. He is usually very quick to recall that the country would do very well without deal, but the Prime Minister has been concerned in recent days by the departure of his chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who has made his cards. He followed in the footsteps of Lee Cain, his close associate and Downing Street press secretary. However, Cummings, strategist of the campaign for Brexit in 2016, was seen as the guarantor of a firm position of London on the trade agreement that it is negotiating (so far in vain) with the EU.

The Brexiters fear a softer hand from the government in the tough negotiations in the days to come with the 27, who offer a united front behind their chief negotiator Michel Barnier. The appointment of Allegra Stratton in place of Lee Cain is also worrying. This new recruit had a youthful penchant for Labor (left) and the Greens. She nevertheless claims to have voted for Brexit and now considers herself a Tory loyal to Johnson. Nevertheless, the doubt is there, and the concern of Brexiters in the United Kingdom can only serve Boris Johnson in the lying poker game which opens with this last round of negotiations, some 50 days before the separation final, on January 1, 2021.

In addition to these two cruel departures at 10 Downing Street, there is another drag: the management by “BoJo” of the coronavirus crisis. The system with different levels of alert (depending on the prevalence of the virus) set up in October was quickly replaced by national containment, while it had been created to replace it. To date, the United Kingdom has one of the darkest records in Europe: more than 61,000 deaths. As a result, the government’s action does not fly very high in the polls. According to Yougov, 53% of those polled generally disapproved of the government’s action against 28% who supported it.

Weakened by the election of Biden

Personally, Boris Johnson is not doing too badly yet with 40% positive opinions (35% negative). But he is stolen the limelight by Rishi Sunak, the young and ambitious Minister of Finance, who outclasses him with 48% positive opinions. In the British tabloids, bad tongues criticize the Chancellor, accused of behaving as if he were already Prime Minister. Johnson knows what to expect …

At the international level too, the westerly wind has not been very favorable since the defeat of Donald Trump while London, now outside the EU, is trying to negotiate a new deal with the United States. “With the election of Joe Biden, of Irish origins, the Prime Minister faces an opponent of Brexit”, decrypts Meredith Crowley, an economist specializing in international trade. “Biden refuses to enter into an agreement with the British if they do not respect the Irish protocol, this mechanism designed with the Europeans to avoid the return of a physical border between the two Ireland after Brexit. “

Leaving the Union without a trade agreement is, from an economic point of view, very delicate for the United Kingdom. But without Trump, the mirror figure of Boris Johnson across the Atlantic, a no-deal Brexit will be even more difficult for the former mayor of London to manage.

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