While some Brexit supporters are furious that Boris Johnson’s initiative of meeting leaders of the EU’s main economic powers individually is some kind of betrayal and has moved us away from the likleyhood of a ‘no deal’ departure from the EU , this blog disagrees. Our opposition to the EU is not to our trading with the bloc, but to the surrender of sovereignty over our lawmaking process, border controls, defence, foreign and economic policies to Brussels. So long as we are leaving the EU and repatriating those things and control of our fisheries, agriculture and ability to negotiate our own treaties on trade, defence, migration and other areas of international relations we’re happy. Any deal that does not involve acceptance of the supremacy of EU law, uncontrolled immigration, a customs union (or an Irish backstop,) or accepting the EU’s right to negotiate treaties on our behalf is fine.
Boris Johnson seems to understand this, Theresa May did not. Her team, hamstrung by May’s belief that we could not leave without a deal, caved in to EU demands that we agree certain conditions before negotiations could begin. This put Britain in the position of a supplicant. Johnson, if his position is genuine, has shown he is prepared to lead the UK out of the Union without a deal and suddenly after months of insisting Theresa May’s disastrous deal was the only one possible.
Now faced with the reality that we can leave without a deal, the French and Germans are suddenly wiling to negotiate. As Donald Trump said, in any negotiation the worst thing you can do is let the other party know you are unwilling to walk away without a deal.
Yesterday, after meeting Johnson, France’s Emmanuel Macron, up to now the most hardline pro-EU leader, has described the Brexit ball as now in the UK’s court. He said, while the bloc does not want a no-deal exit, it would be ready if it happened.
Florian Phillipot leader of the far-right The Patriots party, commented. “Kudos to Boris Johnson, whose will and resolve have helped the UK get out of the EU, “Ultra-Europeans are in distress because Brexit is finally happening. This goes to show that when you push back against threats and blackmail, you can get things done.” ” he added.
Johnson, who has pledged to deliver Brexit no matter what, told the French president that he believed it was possible to agree a new deal before the October 31 deadline. He wants the hotly-contested Irish border backstop to be struck out of the current deal, which the EU has so far refused to renegotiate.
“Let’s get Brexit done, let’s get it done sensibly and pragmatically and in the interests of both sides and let’s not wait until October 31. Let’s get on now in deepening and intensifying the friendship and partnership between us,” he said.