55% of Britons think that Brexit “is going badly”, compared to 33% who think that it is “going well”, according to the latest YouGov poll. 51% believe at this point that leaving the EU “was the wrong decision”, while 38% maintain that it was the right decision, according to another recent poll by Statista. 45% are even convinced that Brexit “has made daily life worse” and has served to trigger bills and the shopping basket, according to another Ipsos survey.
And despite this growing suspicion, even among those who voted in favor of divorce with Europe, the five conservative candidates are salivating talking about “the opportunities of Brexit”. All of them have promised to be faithful to the omen released last week by Boris Johnson: “My departure does not mean the end of Brexit, those who think like that are wrong and we are going to prove it.”
Even the leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer, a defender in his day of permanence, has regurgitated his rival’s motto (“I want Brexit to work”) and has declared that he has no intention of reopening the wounds of the past, nor to explore options for the future such as entry into the single market.
“Politicians don’t want to talk about it, but Johnson’s resignation may be a turning point in the fate of Brexit,” writes Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian. “The author of the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU has fallen: his disastrous project is going to follow the same path.”
Freedland recalls how the victory in the 2016 referendum was supported by “falsities” such as those that have marked these three years of Boris Johnson’s government, starting with the “savings” of 350 million pounds per week (411 million euros) painted in the famous red bus from the Vote Leave campaign. “The reality is serving to discredit Brexit,” says the columnist. “Slow growth, ever-increasing bills, constant problems and the absence of concrete benefits are obvious, even if abstract words like “freedom” or “sovereignty” continue to be used.
During the television debate, Brexit became a throwing weapon between the candidates. Rishi Sunak did not waste the opportunity to ask Liz Truss the most incisive question of the night: “Do you regret being a liberal-democrat or having supported remaining in the EU?”
The Foreign Secretary drew a curtain on her past and boasted of having given a boost to Brexit from the Government, “signing trade agreements with Japan and Australia that seemed unthinkable” and standing up to the EU in the negotiation of the Ireland Protocol.
Aware, however, of the ideological pull that Brexit continues to have on the hard wing of the party, former Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak set the “tempo” for the second debate between the conservative candidates on ITV, promising (that’s nothing) “the review, reform or repeal” of the 2,400 laws that were transferred after the break with Brussels.
“Thanks to Brexit, the United Kingdom will be in the 21st century a sovereign, global nation and defender of free trade, with total control of its laws, its regulations and its international trade policy,” Sunak anticipated, who promised the replacement of the current Ministry for Brexit Opportunities by the so-called Brexit Delivery Department.
Sunak, who defended leaving the EU in the referendum, did not hesitate to dust off the “remainer” past of his rival, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has not finished explaining the underlying reasons for her “conversion”, having said in 2016: “I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or a permit to work in Europe, or where companies can’t grow because of costs and barriers to trade.”
The defenders of Liz Truss, such as the former Brexit minister David Frost, supported their candidate by recalling her firmness in unilaterally promoting the Irish Protocol law in the face of the “white position” of Sunak himself, who once warned to Frost himself: “Don’t blow up the negotiations with the EU”.
Veteran MP Bill Cash also threw his support behind Liz Truss on Sunday, comparing her to Margaret Thatcher for her determination to stand up to the EU, and calling on all Brexiteers to join forces behind her candidacy in the countdown to on July 21, when the names of the two finalists will be known.
The grassroots’ favorite candidate, Penny Mordaunt, meanwhile defended her pro-Brexit dossier from day one of the referendum campaign (although she faced a media backlash for her defense of “trans” rights) . The deputy Kemi Badenoch, representative of the hard wing, was always unconditionally in favor of Brexit and is still there. The fifth in discord, the moderate Tom Tugendhat, opposed in his day to leaving the EU, for his part gave one last show of political transvestism and reiterated his commitment to squeeze “the opportunities of Brexit” if he becomes Prime Minister .
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