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School of Politics and International Relations

Brexit: will Boris Johnson reverse Thatcherism?


Boris Johnson wants to banish the ‘B word’ from British politics after 11pm on Friday. From that point onwards Mr Johnson, the architect of the UK’s departure from the EU, hopes the Brexit trauma of the past four years can be replaced by a new unifying national mission: ‘levelling up’ a country whose jagged contours of inequality were exposed in the 2016 EU referendum. Mr Johnson is a full-throated champion of free enterprise, unlike Mrs May, who kept business at arm’s length during her three years in Downing Street. Some, like Professor of Politics, Professor Tim Bale, question whether the prime minister can persuade his largely southern party to accept an agenda of higher public spending — and probably higher taxes. Professor Bale said: “I’m pretty sceptical. We have heard this from three Conservative governments under David Cameron, Theresa May and now Boris Johnson. This is basically a small state, low tax, low regulation party which will find it quite difficult to do serious stuff about the structural problems in this country.”

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