Financial TimesFinancial Times

Boris Johnson must embrace the Brexit he made

By Martin Wolf

17 May 2022 · 4 min read

In his general election campaign of 2019, Boris Johnson promised the country that he would “get Brexit done”. He has failed. Once again he is planning a law to allow him to repudiate parts of the UK’s Brexit deal on Northern Ireland, on which he campaigned. This would destroy the UK’s reputation for keeping its word, invite a parallel EU repudiation of its free trade deal with the UK, enrage the Biden administration and divide the west.

At the time of the referendum campaign in 2016, the then Irish foreign minister remarked to me that the EU is a “peace project”. It was true of France and Germany. It was also true of Ireland and the UK. The fact that the Republic and the UK were members of the EU had made borders almost irrelevant. This had facilitated the peace process and might even be what made it possible.

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