As you may have noticed over the last 48 hours, the United Kingdon has appointed a new Prime Minister, in the form of Boris Johnson.
It’s fair to say the public see “Boris” as a different type of politician. Half of Britons (52%) expect him to be “a completely new type of Prime Minister” compared to just a quarter (24%) who think he will be much like previous ones.
But different doesn’t mean good, with most of the public also having low expectations of Johnson’s ability to govern.
Just one in five (20%) expect him to be a good or great Prime Minister, compared to half (50%) who think he will be a poor or terrible one. Even amongst those who believe he will be a new type of Prime Minister, 44% think he will be poor or terrible, compared to just 33% who think he will be a good or great one. [Source: YouGov]
Building his team
It is nearly impossible to separate Johnson, from the BREXIT process and he has already given key cabinet roles to leading Brexiteers who have been public figures over the last 36 months, with questionable levels of success.
Dominic Raab and Priti Patel return to government as foreign secretary and home secretary respectively. Sajid Javid has been named as the new chancellor as more than half of Theresa May’s old cabinet; including leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, quit or were sacked.
The speed and scaleof the purge – 17 ministers in all – was the most dramatic element of Johnson’s cabinet formation. However, the essential characteristic is the wholesale takeover of government by the Vote Leave campaign.
For trade, the impact is yet to be seen, and we will update as concrete outcomes become apparent. At the moment we see opposite policy positions primarily in regards to the trade environment with Ireland, the border and promises to political partners which may be challenging to keep.
Johnson, who also enjoys a warm relationship with President Trump is keen to point to opportunities for British business to redouble its efforts to sell into, and seek supply chain from North America, as well as former British empirical territories such as India and Australia. The reality is that negotiations cannot even begin until the UK have officially left the European Union, meaning they must resolve matters around Ireland prior to moving on. The option exists to leave the EU under WTO regulations (Hard Brexit). However, this option will likely cause the collapse of the government, as parliament will not permit this.
What happens next?
All of what has been said previously assume Johnson will be allowed to see out his term in office and there are no significant interruptions. The key date to look towards is October 31st 2019, the stipulated extension period offered by the European Union for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. As we approach this date, several scenarios could play out, resulting in outcomes such as a general election and the political fallout which will result.