Express & Star comment: Brexit deal of real significance

It is to be hoped Boris Johnson is in the mood to find a deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

His track record would suggest that is the most likely outcome of Brexit negotiations that have been given a sharper focus by the Prime Minister’s imposition of a new five-week deadline. The Brexit debate was won and lost some time ago. We are leaving the EU. There is no need, nor any appetite, to revisit arguments that raged and proved divisive. We live in a democracy, a vote took place, the result must be respected. While it is true that a minority voted for the sort of hard Brexit that is now being talked of, we must hope it is simply a negotiating ploy by the Government as it looks to conclude negotiations with the EU.

Certainly, the disruption and predicted economic self-harm of a cliff-edge Brexit does not bear thinking about, particularly when the nation is reeling from a sometimes-chaotic early response to Covid-19, with the economic fallout that ensued.

Perhaps Mr Johnson’s strategy will prove to be the correct one. There is a need to draw a line and move on. The nation requires stability and security, or, to steal a quote from his predecessor, a strong and stable Government. It has lacked the certainty businesses require for too long.

And yet if Mr Johnson does get this wrong, he will be appeasing just a small minority on the right of his party, and of UKIP, rather than the masses who appear to desire a softer landing. Our trading partnership with Europe is key. The disruption businesses will face if they cannot source components or sell to our friends and allies across the Channel would be catastrophic. People did not vote for a deeper recession, more job losses or chaos. The economic impact of Covid means the negotiations assume an even greater significance. Boris Johnson’s seeming self-imposed deadline of five weeks should focus everyone’s mind. Agreeing a deal would be the preferred option for many businesses with the economy in such a fragile state, it is to be hoped agreement can be reached. We were told a deal was oven-ready. Politicians are accountable for such words. If that was the case, now is the time to pop it into the cooker and look forward with hope.

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