Home News Polling guru John Curtice says Boris taking massive risk with Brexit deadline

Polling guru John Curtice says Boris taking massive risk with Brexit deadline


Mr Johnson yesterday told the bloc he was ready to pull the UK out of trade talks and “move on to the next phase” if an agreement was not struck by the middle of next month. The UK is also poised to introduce legislation which would override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol, according to widespread reports, in a move which would enrage Brussels.

Sir John, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, told Express.co.uk it was not yet entirely clear what the Government was planning in terms of the protocol, which critics fear would leave the UK subject to some EU rules and regulations after the end of the transition period.

He said: “One thing we do know is we are going to have an Internal Market Bill on Wednesday.

“We know it is going to cause a row with the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government, both of whom are deeply unhappy about the Bill.

“We are then waiting to see what it is saying about Northern Ireland.

“It is no secret that the two sides in the so-called joint committee have been arguing about exactly how tough the regime should be.

“The UK Government is clearly going for minimal requirements and the EU is going for more and that is something that has not been resolved.”

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“It is also true that the Conservative Government is heavily dependent on Leave voters, more than 3-1, and the question is how Leave voters will react.

“Many Leave voters will probably cheer but the question is, is a minority who will be unhappy.”

Looking further ahead, Mr Curtice said: “Then if we go down a no deal route, then it will depend on what happens.

“If medicines don’t arrive and supermarket shelves are bare, and there are lorryloads of rotten fruit sitting in Calais, it is going to be difficult for the UK Government.

“On the other hand, if the UK Government is right and everything is fine then they are okay.

“Let’s just say they had better be right.”

The risk would be if the Government found itself faced with a difficult no-deal aftermath couple with a second wave of coronavirus – a situation he said would be “very difficult”.

Sir John added: “The Tories have lost some ground among Leave voters since last December.

“Perceptions of competence do matter. The good fortune is there is really anywhere else for them to go and Nigel Farage will cheer if there is no deal and that may help to insulate them.

“But even so some Leave voters may defect from the Tory cause if they think they are not delivering the deal they were hoping for.

“If no deal goes pear-shaped, Nigel Farage cannot complain.”


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