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Opinon: Mr Johnston's attitude is cavalier towards issues of vital importance to the people of Ireland

Boris Johnson is expected to secure the leadership of the Conservative party and become Prime Minister. Picture by Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

It can be argued that, in many ways, it has already been comprehensively demonstrated that Boris Johnson is completely indifferent towards the hugely serious issues surrounding what is scheduled to become the only land border between the UK and the EU.

However, with the bookmakers suggesting he is almost certain to become the next British prime minister in July, Mr Johnson is still offering further evidence about his cavalier attitude towards developments of vital importance to all the people of Ireland, north and south.

Mr Johnson, in his latest BBC interview, insisted there were "abundant, abundant technical fixes" that could be made to prevent checks on the border, but, when challenged to elaborate, engaged in yet another display of vague blustering.

He also claimed it would be possible to negotiate a complex new deal with the EU before the end of October, including the provision of the vast infrastructure which would be required in Ireland, on the basis that politics had changed utterly since the UK missed its last Brexit deadline on March 29.

There has certainly been upheaval in London, with Theresa May swept out of office, but the 27 remaining EU states have made it abundantly clear that the withdrawal agreement reached with the UK cannot be reopened under any circumstances.

Mr Johnson went to raise the prospect of the Irish backstop - the measure guaranteeing no return to a hard border which he previously endorsed and now opposes - being reviewed or even dropped, although taoiseach Leo Varadkar has categorically ruled this out.

In The Irish News yesterday, the distinguished historian Dr Éamon Phoenix, looked in detail at the highs and lows of Ireland’s relationship with Britain over the last century.

His stark conclusion was that Brexit had thrown the heartening progress of recent years into major doubt and the months ahead were likely to test Anglo-Irish understandings as never before.

If the Conservative Party really is going to ignore the massive concerns which exist over Mr Johnson’s judgment and hand him the keys to 10 Downing Street, he would do well to reflect carefully on the views of respected figures like Dr Phoenix and others before committing himself to any action which may well have disastrous consequences in Ireland.

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