Speaking last night, on the eve of the anniversary of the war in Ukraine, Boris Johnson made clear his stance on the Northern Ireland Protocol. In an interview with Sky News, the former Prime Minister refused to commit to backing Rishi’s deal. Instead he advocated for an agreement on the basis of the Northern Ireland Bill – which, he was quick to add, passed through the Commons with no amendments whilst he was Prime Minister. He argued it “fixes all the problems” of the protocol.
Going further, Boris said the bill:
“Solves the problems we have in the Irish Sea, it solves the problems of paperwork, VAT and so on. It’s an excellent bill. It doesn’t set up any other problems in the economy of the whole island of Ireland.”
Johnson’s intervention won’t help Rishi, who already faces a difficult challenge in managing his party’s opinions on the matter. In the interview, Boris also responded to Keir Starmer’s professed loathing for him, responding that “it’s important to be as civil and as friendly as you possibly can”. A lesson in kinder, gentler politics.