The prime minister has imported a wrecking campaign style to Downing Street that is incompatible with good government
In light of everything that was known about Boris Johnson before becoming prime minister, his inability to resolve Brexit once installed in Downing Street was to be expected. Only the manner of his failure was unpredictable. Mr Johnson was lazy in his assessment of the EU negotiating position, arrogant in his handling of parliament, and complacent about the strength of opposition there. But perhaps the prime minister’s most damaging error has been to confuse campaign rhetoric with the reality of government.
Mr Johnson believed the arguments he used to persuade Tory members to elect him as their leader. He said that Theresa May’s deal was obsolete and that a better deal would be available if the UK listened less to Brussels. That proposition has now been tested and found to be false. Mr Johnson’s alternative Brexit proposals have been rejected. It is not clear whether Downing Street intended its plan to be the starting point for a serious negotiation or just a provocation – designed for rejection ahead of a campaign vilifying foreigners as the obstacles to Brexit liberation.
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