Rory Stewart on the challenges Boris Johnson will face getting Brexit done

13 December 2019, 15:14 | Updated: 13 December 2019, 15:28

Rory Stewart explained the challenges Boris Johnson will face getting Brexit done and why this could make for a worse deal.

The independent candidate for London mayor observed that, like in the United States, "very simple three word messages" are cutting through.

"The challenge now for someone like me who's an independent in the centre ground is to make people focus on the how-the practical business of doing things."

He emphasising that concentrating on practical improvements rather than very simple slogans is "the way we're going to revive things."

"A lot of the problems in modern politics is about the way that three word slogans are winning elections," he said.

Nick posited that the Conservative party has borrowed the votes of the working class people, "how are they going to honour that trust?"

The Tories will be pushing for a "punchy policy on things like Brexit," Rory Stewart said, "don't expect to see an extension granted in June. I think we're going to end up probably with a very simple Brexit deal, probably less good."

Rory Stewart, a former Conservative, is running as an independent candidate for Mayor of London
Rory Stewart, a former Conservative, is running as an independent candidate for Mayor of London. Picture: PA

He said this will be problematic for manufacturing areas of the United Kingdom that need a good trade deal with the European Union in order to sell their goods.

"The pressure will be on for Boris to say he's not going to ask for a further extension and that probably is going to end up with a worse version of the deal than I would like to see," he said.

"There going to be a tension between more right wing views on for example immigration and crime, a lot of those people are very excited that this might be a Donald Trump moment."

Nick pointed out that Boris Johnson is "quite liberal" when it comes to immigration.

"One of the challenges is going to be how is he going to work that with voters who have very strong views on immigration," Rory Stewart said, "and the question is can the centre ground revive?"

"The problem with what the Lib Dems did is they discredited the brand of the centre ground," he said, "so many people are in the centre. So many people don't want to be dragged to the right or the left. But there's a gaping hole in British politics and I'm hoping that at least through cities we can show how practically centre politics can work."

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