Economy

Johnson gives way to Brussels in ‘sausage war’ after suffering severe electoral blow

The new Brexit battle seems to be calming down with a Christmas tradition: Britain’s renouncing its demands that Northern Ireland leave EU oversight. After accepting that the province remains in the Common Market at the end of 2019, and signing a trade agreement that established an internal border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain on Christmas Eve 2020, this December has touched the acceptance that the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) have jurisdiction in the British Irish territory as part of the Common Market  that it is, deflating the threats of breaking the trade agreement with which London threatened if the EU did not give in

The resignation leaked last week, drawing immediate denial from Brexit Minister David Frost. However, this Friday the concession has been crystallized, in exchange for the EU allowing medicines authorized in the United Kingdom but not authorized by the European regulator to be prescribed in Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson’s government had been threatening for months to break the Brexit agreement, at least as far as the province is concerned, if the EU did not renounce the jurisdiction of the CJEU and eliminate customs controls on products traded between the two British shores, in what is known as the “sausage war” . Brussels offered to drastically cut the paperwork, but refused to eliminate the obligation to testify and insisted that the CJEU is an inalienable condition.

Historical defeat

The resignation comes after Johnson suffered a historic defeat in a rural constituency on the border with Wales. North Shropshire, a county that had elected a ‘Tory’ deputy in every election since its inception in 1834, held an extraordinary vote on Thursday to appoint a new MP following the resignation of the previous one, Owen Paterson, over a scandal of ‘ lobby ‘illegal . The result was chilling for Johnson: the ‘Tories’ lost two-thirds of their ballots and saw a territory in which they won by 40 points in 2019 go to elect a Liberal MP with a margin of 15 points.

The result is a blow almost traced to that suffered by John Major in another extraordinary election in 1993, also in a seat in the ‘deep England’ that had historically dominated and also at the hands of the Liberal Democrats. That result predicted a catastrophe for the Conservatives in the following general elections, which has unleashed all the alarms in the Government.

These elections come just as Johnson has been involved in the so-called “partygate” for several weeks. The media, of all colors, have uncovered eleven parties held between Downing Street, various ministries and the headquarters of the Conservative Party itself, while the country was in strict confinement in 2020 and social gatherings were prohibited. The eleventh, unveiled this Friday, involves David Case, Cabinet minister and the person designated by Johnson – of which there are photos participating in another party – to investigate the matter.

After the result, the signals of the deputies ‘Tories’ indicate that they are beginning to sharpen the knives, although a confidence motion against Johnson is not expected at least until the wave of omicron passes and the renegotiation with the EU on Ireland is completely closed. But they are clear about it: “This is their last chance,” the leaders of the 1922 Committee, which brings together the rank-and-file deputies of the party, assured the media. The premier, for his part, has assured that he has “received” the message, although he has made it clear that he has no urgency to reshape his government or change course, and has blamed the media for focusing so much on his scandals. Certainly not what many expected in their ranks. In the air, the question of whether Johnson is still the charismatic beast capable of winning elections or is already completely charred, as the abrupt plunge of his approval in the polls suggests. And, above all, if there is someone on the government bench capable of replacing him in the short term.

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