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Reality check looms for Boris Johnson

A blimp depicting Boris Johnson in Parliament Square for a pro-EU march

There appears to be no longer any room for doubt that Boris Johnson will tomorrow be confirmed as the new Conservative leader and therefore automatically the incoming British prime minister.

The election of such a shameless individual demonstrates firmly that his party has lost its moral compass and is prepared to take any step which will allow it to cling to power without considering the long term consequences.

Mr Johnson's term of office will be a calamity for both his party and his country while both his cavalier approach to the Brexit crisis in general and his spectacular u-turns over the backstop and the single market in particular already have massive implications for Ireland, north and south.

He publicly endorsed the single market in 2015, and backed a withdrawal agreement including the backstop earlier this year, but has since insisted that he intends to reject both options when he becomes British premier.

Mr Johnson's antics explain why the rest of Europe has unanimously lined up behind the effective insurance policy over what is scheduled to be the only land border between the UK and the EU.

He attempted to entirely unrealistically claim last week that he would drop the backstop from any future plan he put to the EU, while also ignoring the clearly expressed views of senior Capitol Hill politicians on what such an outcome would mean for a new trade arrangement with the US.

In his article for The Irish News today, Irish American academic and commentator Dr Frank Costello succinctly sets out the position of the key figure on the issue, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as `don't even think about it.'

During their recent Irish visit, Ms Pelosi, and the influential chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Richard Neal, made it equally clear that, regardless of the views of Donald Trump, any proposal for a post-Brexit US/UK trade deal is doomed unless the backstop is in place.

All the indications are that Mr Johnson will make and break any promise in the interests of getting into Downing Street. His party may be prepared to indulge him but Ireland and the rest of the EU, together with the US Congress, will immediately provide him with a reality check.

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