The next Prime Minister should seriously consider the threat that no deal poses to Northern Ireland – but Jill Rutter says that neither Jeremy Hunt nor Boris Johnson have shown any signs of doing so.
No deal may be painful for Great Britain: it's potentially a disaster for Northern Ireland. In March, the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (reminder: there are currently no sitting ministers in Stormont) wrote to the political parties to say that no deal would have very difficult consequences in Northern Ireland, and UK Government officials privately admit that they had no viable plan for coping. However, the final strait of the Conservative leadership race has seen an escalation of commitment to no deal.
This failure to confront what no deal would mean will have three likely consequences. As Michael Gove said in March, no deal means re-imposing direct rule, with all that implies, in order to cope with the economic consequences.
But the consequences could also be political. If politicians in Westminster plough their preferred furrow on Brexit with no regard to the interests of businesses, farmers and jobs in Northern Ireland, the balance of opinion could shift towards the point where a Secretary of State is obliged to call a border poll. Whatever happens, a no deal Brexit would further raise tensions across the island of Ireland. [...]
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