Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal could be the making of the Prime Minister
The Brexit deal signed by Rishi Sunak today may well be the moment that he is able to take charge of his party
Rishi Sunak is a funny old Prime Minister. He was vaulted up the political ranks almost by accident; his accession to Chancellor coming years before he could reasonably have expected it as a result of Dominic Cummings firing Sajid Javid’s special adviser, a situation which up with the then-resident of Number 11 would not put. A pandemic and hundreds of billions of giveaways later, he was roundly defeated in a leadership election by a politician who would only a few weeks later be unfavourably compared to a lettuce. And then, somehow, he became Prime Minister.
Rishi Sunak’s deal with the EU yesterday appears as of this minute to be a political triumph. Whether the European Union’s negotiators simply have no interest in talking to the Brits anymore or whether they had a Damascene conversion to the belief that Brexit can in fact work for both sides of the argument is up for debate, but it is clear that Brussels went far further yesterday than anybody had reasonable cause to expect.
In doing so, Sunak has – in theory – done much to smooth the cogs of trade across the Irish Sea and the Irish border, with a limited role for EU judges and crucially a mechanism for a functioning Northern Irish Assembly – recently kiboshed once again by the unionist DUP – to protest EU impositions. The devil will be in the detail but it appears a sensible way for Britain to move forward in building a less fractious relationship with our closest trading partner.
Sunak has also performed something of a magic trick – in getting this deal across the line, he has managed to firmly take the mantle away from Boris Johnson as the man who can ‘get things done’ with the European Union. Where does the former PM go now? Where do his allies? Our advice to all is a period of silence.