Looking at the issue of Brexit negotiations panning out in 2020, at this stage a no-deal is less likely than it was towards the end of last year because Johnson has a whopping majority now in the House of Commons. In some ways this gives him the chance to pursue whatever kind of Brexit he desires – and it might be that this gives him space to pursue a softer kind of Brexit – but the actuality of trade negotiations is that they are things which take many years and certainly it’s the beginning of the end, as it were.
One thing that the election confirms is that Brexit is definitely going to happen and the case for remain has now really been put to bed. Very few people are calling for a second referendum – that has been put to bed by the election. At the same time, it is difficult to predict, but my suggestion would be that a no-deal scenario is considerably less likely than it was two months ago.
It could well turn out to be something along the lines of those descriptions used by the likes of Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, but in some ways it’s very immaterial now because the Conservatives hoovered up enough of the leave vote and are seen as the party of Brexit – and they won the election handsomely on the back of that issue and therefore there will be some sniping on the side-lines from Farage but, deep down, he will probably be quite pleased that the Brexit Party did have some influence on the election.
There will be a kind of grandstanding from Farage and a lot of rhetoric but, at the same time, there is no way that the Conservatives are going to very easily lose that reputation as the party of Brexit.
The Brexit Party will still be in the background of things and will act as something of a pressure group. There will still be a little reminder here and there that they can exert some pressure on the Conservatives and on Boris Johnson but, in all honesty, it will now be on to the next thing for Farage.
It will be interesting to see what happens to Farage politically because he’s always struggled when it comes to Westminster in terms of making much of an impact, but he probably feels now that there is some kind of a Brexit and that he can go off into the sunset and just keep an eye on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while sometimes intervening in the media if it seems that Brexit isn’t enough to his liking.
Dr Connal Parr is a lecturer in history at Northumbria University, UK