10 April 2020

Boris Johnson's Brexit plans threaten the unity of the U.K.

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New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s big tour of the U.K. saw him booed by EU supporters in Wales and heckled by nationalists in Scotland. Northern Ireland’s fractious parties then told him that his Brexit plans were reopening old wounds. reports citing AFP that the Conservative Party leader’s swing across the four U.K. countries in his first week in office was designed to drum up support for his high-risk pledge to leave the EU on October 31 at any cost.

But he found a less-than-united kingdom that — while not quite coming apart at the seams — is becoming increasingly open about deep-seated suspicions of London.

Welsh sheep farmers are worried that the 27 remaining members of the European Union will throw up barriers to their lamb exports in case of a messy “no-deal” divorce.

Scottish nationalists say that they never voted to leave the bloc in first place and might now try to become an independent state in order to rejoin.

And the prospect of a hard border splitting EU member Ireland from Northern Ireland has revived memories of late 20th-century sectarian unrest.

“It was perfectly foreseeable that the hardest of hard Brexit would put huge strains on the union,” the Center for European Reform’s Deputy Director John Springford said.

“It’s clear that Brexit, which is an English nationalist project, really … matters much more to him than the future of the union,” Springford said.

2019.08.02 / 13:32
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