Johnson, who has already served as the Conservative government’s Foreign Secretary as well as Mayor of London, may soon exit the EU without trade or immigration agreements in place.
By October 31, the date by which the United Kingdom must leave the bloc, British scientists may face significant funding cuts from EU science programmes, cancelled collaborations and disrupted travel, says science journal Nature.
“Researchers fear a no-deal Brexit because the scenario could jeopardize the United Kingdom’s ability to take part in the EU’s flagship, research-funding programme, Horizon Europe, which is worth €100 billion,” the publication noted. UK researchers have historically been some of the bloc’s biggest winners from the scheme.
Johnson has called for an Australian-style “points-based” immigration system after Brexit, which could attract highly skilled immigrants, such as scientists. But James Wilsdon, a science-policy researcher at the University of Sheffield, says that Brexit has already damaged the country’s reputation as a leading destination for scientists.
Nigel Farage has offered Boris Johnson a pact with his Brexit Party – to work together to against the Labour Party to finally accomplish Brexit. Farage’s new party, which burst onto the political scene during the European elections in June, remains a credible threat to the Conservatives according to recent polling.
According to Farage, the current deadlock in the British Parliament means Johnson going to have to face an election, but that would require Boris to team up with him since the Conservative Party is deeply divided on Brexit.
“The inescapable truth is that he must hold an autumn general election. That is his only way out,” Farage told the media. He cast doubt on whether Johnson has the “courage” to do it.
The Brexit Party leader warned that if Johnson does not give Britain Brexit, his party is all but history.
Europeans have been baffled by Johnson’s ascent to power in spite of his often clownish behaviour, but the ruling Conservative Party members are known to be anti-EU, even more so than the party’s electoral base.
A recent study found that 70 percent of Conservative members are male, half are over 55 and 97 percent are white. These members have been expressing frustration over Theresa May’s failed negotiations.
Thus Johnson’s willingness to pursue a no-deal Brexit and leave the EU on October 31 suggests that Tories view him as the only leader who is able to save the ailing party.