The GuardianThe Guardian

Brexit will endure after Sunak’s deal, but Brexitism is dying and Johnsonism may be dead

By Rafael Behr

01 Mar 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

This week Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen came to an agreement over the Northern Ireland protocol. The Guardian weighs in on what the future of Brexitism, in light of new and improved relations.

Brexit is done and also it will never be done. Rishi Sunak’s deal to fix the Northern Ireland protocol ends a process that is only beginning. If that sounds paradoxical it is because British politics uses the B-word to describe many things, or rather it confuses different things by pretending they are one.

Brexit was an insurrection against the status quo and a promise to upend the established ways of Westminster government. But Brexit is also a technical project and a diplomatic minefield that can’t be navigated without those old skills of establishment statecraft.

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