Boris Johnson, a vociferous champion of Brexit, is set to succeed Theresa May as the UK’s prime minister, having won nearly two-thirds of the Conservative Party’s votes in its leadership contest. The reason for the country’s political instability has been its 2016 choice, expressed in a referendum, to leave the European Union (EU). It first claimed David Cameron, who wanted it to stay, and then May, who failed to unite a party split over the departure. Since an exit without a free-trade deal with the EU could deliver a blow to the UK’s economy, getting parliament’s backing for a proposal on retaining commercial ties had been May’s headache. With the 31 October deadline looming over Brexit, that burden now falls upon Johnson, the populist who led the campaign for London to “regain control" from Brussels.

Striking a trade deal with the EU will not be easy. But going by the new PM’s public posture, he does not consider a no-deal Brexit much of a disaster. This worries Britons who think the UK is sacrificing its economic interests at the altar of autonomy, which, of course, would be what a sudden snap-off would amount to. Let’s hope reality tempers his rhetoric.

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