As the first UK coronavirus cases were confirmed, the government was focused on Brexit and destructive vendettas, writes Martin Fletcher, a New Statesman contributing writer and a former foreign editor of the Times. It is now paying for this arrogance, and the UK looks likely to suffer one of the highest death tolls in the Western world.
“Traces of hubris persist,” he writes. “Even as it calls for national unity, Johnson’s government refuses to seek an extension for the Brexit transition period that ends on 31 December. It refuses even though the chances of the UK securing an EU trade deal are now negligible in the little time left, and crashing out without such a deal would deliver another crushing blow to British businesses already reeling from the lockdown.”
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