Johnson now denies the promises he made and is threatening to tear up the protocol, blaming the EU for the problem he has caused. The EU certainly has scope for flexibility in managing the border, and I hope it will show some. But the UK government can show even more latitude, for example by accepting that Northern Ireland might follow EU standards for food and agricultural products. After all, the government says it does not want to see lower standards in Britain than in Europe.
But the most important thing for Johnson to do is to demonstrate trustworthiness in international negotiations. Sadly, a growing number of world leaders, as well as people in Britain and Northern Ireland, have come to doubt that he will keep his word when he has given it.
22 June 2021 – Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, Conservative MP from 1979 to 1992, former Secretary of State for the Environment and Minister for Overseas Development, Conservative Party chairman, governor of Hong Kong, European Commissioner for External Relations, incumbent Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Conservative member of the House of Lords since 2005