• Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

Coronavirus aside – by the next election, voters will be more interested in the state of the economy, their job prospects and cost of living, writes Andrew Grice

Dec 25, 2020

It was hardly surprising that Boris Johnson wrapped himself in the Union Flag as he began his campaign to sell the UKs trade deal with the EU. Or that he replayed his greatest hit by recalling the Brexit referendum. This deal expresses what the people of this country voted for in 2016, he told a Downing Street press conference.
Some voters will buy the spin. The pro-Brexit newspapers, who are giving Johnson a hard time over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, will revert to type and trumpet his deal. But his jumbo Canada-style free trade agreement is more of a mouse. 
It is doubtful whether the people would have voted for such a hard Brexit if it had been spelt out in 2016; the expectation, encouraged by Vote Leave, was that the UK could leave the EUs political institutions but still enjoy the economic benefits. Johnson and his fellow Leavers did not exactly rush to spell out the 4 per cent hit to GDP a Canada-style agreement would bring compared to continued EU membership, according to Treasury figures.