The three major Brexit problems Boris Johnson is going to face

Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson gestures during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London, Wednesday July 10, 2019. (Henry Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP)
Boris Johnson has a few problems on his hands already (Picture: Henry Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP)

He has promised to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October ‘do or die’, but new Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face many of the same issues as his predecessor Theresa May.

Revolts loom from different sides of a warring Tory party, the EU is doubling down in its refusal to reopen negotiations and resurgent Lib Dems threaten to hoover up Remainer votes.

Mr Johnson promises a ‘can-do spirit’ to tackle the Brexit deadlock, but will that be enough?

Here are the areas he’ll have to deal with:-

The European Union

European Commission in Brussels
The EU could prove a bit of a problem for Boris (Picture: Getty)

Mr Johnson has vowed to try and secure a new Brexit deal by the deadline of October 31 and, if that fails, take the UK out of the European Union with no deal.

But EU negotiators have repeatedly said that the Withdrawal Agreement is not up for renegotiation, including the backstop.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has said Mrs May’s agreement is the “only way to leave the EU in an orderly manner”.

Even if the EU is prepared to renegotiate some points, Boris’s stance has hardened.

He has declared the backstop ‘dead’ and said it should be removed from any deal.

That means even if some concessions are offered to help grease the wheels on a possible deal, they might not meet the new PM’s demands.

Another issue is the fact that Boris Johnson has already rubbed a few people in the EU up the wrong way.

In a recent Panorama programme, the EU Commission's First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans criticised Johnson’s approach to Brexit negotiations from when they began.

He said: "Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, but it is about time we became a bit harsh. I am not sure he was being genuine.

"I have always had the impression he is playing games."

His own party

From left, Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Davis, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attend a speech by Prime Minister Theresa May, in Florence, Italy, Friday Sept. 22, 2017. May will try Friday to revive foundering Brexit talks — and unify her fractious government — by proposing a two-year transition after Britain's departure from the European Union in 2019 during which the U.K. would continue to pay into the bloc's coffers. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)
Boris Johnson will face opposition from his own party over Brexit (Picture: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)

The irony of David Cameron calling a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU to heal the divide in the Conservative Party has not escaped anyone.

Arguably, the past three years have seen the Tory party at its worst, and there remain clear and deep divisions over Brexit.

Mr Johnson has made his feelings clear on the issue - we’ll leave no matter what by October 31 - but there are plenty in his party who disagree.

Like Theresa May before him, there is no way Johnson will be able to please everyone. Hard Brexiteers are unlikely to vote for a version of Mrs May’s deal, while vocal critics of a no-deal Brexit like Philip Hammond are expected to try to block it from happening.

It’s believed that Mr Hammond and his fellow no-deal opponents including David Lidington, David Gauke and Rory Stewart will be frozen out of the top jobs and find themselves on the backbenches.

Britain's Conservative Party leadership contender Boris Johnson backed-up by supporters during a party leadership hustings in Darlington, England, Friday July 5, 2019.  The two contenders, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are competing for votes from party members, with the winner replacing Prime Minister Theresa May as party leader and Prime Minister of Britain's ruling Conservative Party. ( Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)
Can Boris keep everyone in his party happy? (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Some speculate Mr Johnson has made conflicting promises to different camps in a bid to win their support, telling ERG supporters like Mark Francois that he would leave without a deal, whilst also winning support from the likes of Matt Hancock, who is against a no-deal Brexit.

In June Tory grandee Ken Clarke said he would vote to bring down the next Prime Minister rather than allow a no-deal Brexit to go ahead, saying it would be "totally incompatible with everything the Conservative party has stood for" over decades.

His comments, which came alongside suggestions that he would be prepared to see Jeremy Corbyn take the helm if it meant avoiding a no-deal Brexit, were echoed by Tobias Ellwood who said other Conservative colleagues would be willing to back a vote of no confidence in any leader who tried to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.

In an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight last week, Margot James - who resigned as culture minister so she could vote against the government for the anti-prorogation amendment - said “quite a number” of ministers would leave the government if Boris Johnson became PM and join the campaign to block a no-deal Brexit.

Everyone else

Jeremy Corbyn leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party gives the thumbs up after voting in the European Elections in London, Thursday, May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Labour has been in talks with Tory rebels on a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson (Picture: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

It comes as no surprise that Labour is planning a vote of no confidence in the government in a bid to bring down Boris Johnson.

The party has reportedly been in talks with Tory rebels about the best time to call the vote.

Conservatives could try to bring down Boris by joining the Liberal Democrats, wiping out his majority and potentially triggering a snap election.

As the party that aligned itself with a Remain agenda, the Lib Dems will undoubtedly try to block any kind of Brexit pursued by Johnson, as will other parties in favour of staying in the EU.

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