‘Hugely embarrassing year’ British politics savaged as Brexit and global standing hammered

The past 12 months have seen the Brexit crisis paralysing Parliament as a failure by politicians to work together to find a solution infuriating millions of Britons. Political in-fighting, often within their own parties, has dominated events, with arguments revolving around the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal and the best way to proceed with the UK’s departure from the bloc. This ultimately led to a change of Prime Minister, with Theresa May resigning and being replaced by Boris Johnson in July.

An early general election was also triggered, which saw the Conservative Party crush Labour, forcing the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn to announce he will be quitting over the coming weeks.

Critics have rounded on how UK politics is now viewed, both at home and by leaders and countries across the world.

Alistair Jones, Principal Lecturer at De Montfort University in Leicester, told Express.co.uk: “This has been a hugely embarrassing year for British politics. The ineptitude of the May Government continued. The source of the problem was in the party-politicisation of Brexit.

“Had May developed a cross-party platform to take Brexit forward, we would have already left the EU. Her failure to do so, and turning to both the DUP and to the ERG was her mistake and, ultimately, her undoing.

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Brexit news: There were many twists and turns in UK politics during 2019 (Image: GETTY)

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Brexit news: Boris Johnson has insisted the UK will leave the EU on January 31 (Image: GETTY)

“Johnson, on becoming Prime Minister, simply threw the DUP and the moderates in his own party under the proverbial bus.

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“Yet his actions, most notably attempting to prorogue Parliament, highlighted a rather callous way of politicking. Added to this, the bare-faced lying that has continued has left other world leaders shocked.

“The misrepresentation of the EU, and of Britain’s relationship with the EU, has left many world leaders very wary of a Johnson-led Government.

“Our global standing is significantly lower. Added to this, the image of Johnson as a buffoon – one which he has cultivated over many years – is also a source of embarrassment. Other leaders cannot take him seriously.

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Brexit news: Jeremy Corbyn will step down as Labour leader following a disastrous general election (Image: GETTY)

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, rage it has been “two steps back” for British politics in 2019.

He warned the UK is now like Manchester United – the once-all conquering football team , who have been “bewilderingly rubbish and incompetent for the past few years, but still a cherished and internationally respected global phenomenon”.

Mr Littlewood said: “2019 has been a wasted year. Not disastrous, just frustrating. Not even one step forward, two steps back. Just two steps back.

“The rest of the world must look at us perplexed rather than dismissive, overall. Even the antics of our politicians over the last three years can’t quite reduce a great country like the UK to a laughing stock in international eyes – however hard they’ve tried.

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Brexit news: A tearful Theresa May announces her resignation as Prime Minister in May (Image: GETTY)

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Brexit news: Boris Johnson became the UK’s new Prime Minister in July (Image: GETTY)

“As a country, we’re basically the equivalent of Manchester United – bewilderingly rubbish and incompetent for the past few years, but still a cherished and internationally respected global phenomenon.

“The New Year’s resolution for our politicians should be to stop being so astonishingly useless.”

Ben Harris-Quinney claimed the past 12 months have seen the British public stand up and give the “Westminster establishment a clattering clip around the ear”.

But he warned the UK’s international standing has been significantly impacted by Parliament’s inability agree on a Brexit deal and deliver on the democratic result from the EU referendum in 2016.

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Brexit news: The five key moments that led to Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

e said: “2019 is the year the British public stood up once again and gave the Westminster establishment a clattering clip around the ear.

“The shame for the country internationally is that it has taken so long for the very clear will of the electorate to be heard and implemented.

“Brexit is not the end, it was a signal from the electorate that people want to see things done very differently, on British democracy, on immigration and on how wealth and opportunity is divided up.

“The fact that the establishment class were able to frustrate the process via Parliament, the courts, and the media, for so long shows that British democracy needs root and branch reform.”

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“Whether Boris succeeds or fails will pivot on whether he recognises that radical change must begin with Brexit, not end with it.”

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Brexit news: Negotiations between the UK and EU dominated 2019 (Image: GETTY)

Kostas Maronitis, a lecturer in politics and international relations at Leeds Trinity University, said the continued Brexit crisis has “exposed a country with a weak economy and lack of political vision fore the future”.

He told Express.co.uk: “The inability to implement the result of the referendum and the chronic deficiencies of the state and its institutions due to prolonged austerity have rendered British politics and politicians dis functional.

Mr Maronitis also warned: “The UK has emerged a weaker country after the long process of defining and implementing Brexit. Despite Boris Johnson’s resounding victory, two important factors remain unchanged.

“First, the economy is flatlining and the constant danger of leaving the EU without the deal has a negative impact on the value of the pound.

“Second, the union remains fragile and Johnson’s polarising campaign will certainly push the SNP to formally request another independence referendum.”


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