To say that this is highly disappointing would be a gross understatement…
Nigel Farage has denounced Boris Johnson’s EU deal as “95 per cent the same” as Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, which was deemed so terrible by Remainers as well as Brexiteers that it was voted down three times by the House of Commons.
You can watch much of his blistering speech here.
Farage’s verdict, that the Johnson deal is a reheated version of May’s deal, accords completely with what I wrote here on Friday.
He also points out that it would split the UK by effectively imposing a border down the middle of the Irish Sea, thus separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
It would mean, as he said, the UK committing itself to a “level playing field” – in other words, no deviation – on employment legislation, social protection, environmental law, state aid and even taxation. So the terms of the Johnson deal would prevent the UK from becoming more competitive than the EU.
Various commentators, however, have decided that the only conceivable reason Farage is so opposed to the Johnson deal must be that Farage believes it would spell the end of his political career. This profoundly misunderstands both Farage and the Johnson deal itself.
Farage does not want a political career as such. He wants the UK to leave the EU and rule itself again as an independent sovereign democratic country. That is what the British voted for in the 2016 referendum. Farage’s Brexit party exists for the sole purpose of delivering that or ensuring that it is delivered.
The Johnson deal would not do so. It would deliver Brexit in name only, leaving the UK still shackled to the EU – unable to do trade deals with the rest of the world free of EU regulations, unable to control its own defence or foreign policy and with laws that are passed by the Westminster parliament still subject, in some circumstances at least, to the European Court of Justice.