The Independent

Sunak has convenient­ly forgotten he backed Brexit

- Philip Goldenberg Woking

In Belfast on Tuesday, Rishi Sunak extolled the wonderful position Northern Ireland is now in by being both in the UK and in the EU single market. Does he have no sense of irony?

That’s exactly where England, Scotland and Wales were before the folly of Brexit. The benefits Northern Ireland will now enjoy were the same ones the UK did before the Tory government removed us from that privileged position. All of which Sunak happily supported at the time!

I read The Independen­t’s recent editorial on the DUP deals with a suggested approach to resolving the situation in which we now find ourselves (The DUP can be brought aboard with twin incentives, yesterday). Before Brexit and under the Good Friday Agreement, political stability in Northern Ireland was a norm, as a sitting and functionin­g Stormont evidenced. The threat Brexit posed to that agreement was obvious and widely advised. The DUP has its demands because of Brexit, and Rishi Sunak is obliged to address them.

Rishi Sunak is described elsewhere as charting a new way forward. It is a navigation he must undertake because Boris Johnson and his Brexiteers, among whom Sunak is even now “proud” to number himself, laid their minefields in otherwise peaceful waters. He enjoys collective ownership of the

deliberate and unnecessar­y damages he seeks to mitigate. He is cleaning up one part – albeit an important one – of an ongoing mess. There are many others.

The Windsor Framework, described as “the first of the great political prizes”, arises within an unfortunat­e context. We can change the context by securing the greater political prize of reinstatin­g the UK to full membership of the EU. We can all once again enjoy the norm of what Rishi Sunak describes as “privileged access to the EU single market” and rid ourselves of a plethora of Brexit harms.

David Nelmes Newport


I’m no great fan of Matt Hancock, certainly not with his WhatsApp messages having come to light. But I can’t help but feel there’s an agenda here with Isabel Oakeshott’s “betrayal”. No government had ever gone through something like Covid before. There were undoubtedl­y mistakes made and, indeed, some who acted in self-interest. But the current backlash feels as though it is distinctly anti-lockdown.

We can’t deny that there could easily have been bodies in the streets without lockdowns and restrictio­ns. Large groups of supposed “freedom fighters” have already attacked the scientists who supported lockdowns, and now it seems the agenda has changed to politician­s. The choices Hancock made as health secretary should be left to a formal inquiry.

Neil Coppendale Address supplied

I’d obviously managed to blank any news about Matt Hancock’s book Pandemic Diaries until now, and wasn’t aware of this facet of his crass attempts to monetise his critical position in the Covid catastroph­e. Alongside his I’m A Celebrity debacle he’s clearly decided decency, honour and integrity can play second fiddle to his money-grubbing aspiration­s.

The outcome of the leaked WhatsApp messages regarding testing people in care homes remains to be seen, but it’s a certainty that Hancock’s political career is dead in the water. But why should he care? It’s already clear that he is more than happy to milk the misery, grief, and frustratio­n he generated to the maximum if it makes a profit!

Steve Mackinder Denver, Norfolk

Tory chickens come home to roost

The overwhelmi­ng number of crises and problems this Tory administra­tion is dealing with are the ones they created. Whether you focus on the carnage of Brexit, or the many chickens that have come home to roost as a result of decades of careless privatisat­ion, it’s a chaos of self-harm.

But make no mistake – the much-heralded Windsor Framework is simply the protocol we’d have had if proper negotiatio­ns had been entered into at the beginning, or even if the mishmash Theresa May proposed had been accepted. All this energy is spent undoing what need not have been done. The damage has been incalculab­le and unnecessar­y.

Amanda Baker Edinburgh

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