Boris Johnson created this Brexit mess in Northern Ireland – and he should own it | Simon Jenkins

The prime minister lacks the authority to fix the problems his protocol has caused. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland suffers

Two of Boris Johnson’s most reckless chickens are coming home to roost. To get hard Brexit into law and topple his predecessor, Theresa May, he told Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party that he would allow no border in the Irish Sea. He promptly allowed one, and signed a protocol to the Brexit deal to that effect. An enraged DUP is duly refusing to let the new Northern Irish executive take office until that border goes. Johnson is now threatening to unilaterally renege on the protocol, in turn enraging the EU by flagrantly breaching the withdrawal deal. Precisely this trap was built into hard Brexit from day one. Everyone knew it. It was classic Johnson. He lied his way out of each scrape, sacking or ennobling colleagues according to taste.

The absence of a new executive in Belfast leaves open the prospect of direct rule from London. If Johnson fails to dismantle the EU-ordained border controls at Belfast docks, the DUP will stall power-sharing. If he gives in and allows the world’s goods to flow freely into the Irish republic, the EU has threatened to retaliate in an all-out trade war. The question is what new “constructive ambiguity” – a euphemism for fudge – Johnson can conceivably fashion to get him out of this mess.

Continue reading…

Source : Boris Johnson created this Brexit mess in Northern Ireland – and he should own it | Simon Jenkins