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Opinion
John Authers

Currency Markets Are Making a Dangerous Brexit Bet

They appear to have decided that Boris Johnson’s threats don’t need to be taken seriously.

Take him seriously.

Take him seriously.

Photographer: JACK HILL/Getty Images

Maybe it is a sign of normality finally returning after the pandemic that Brexit is back in the headlines, and that politicians feel they have the license to put it there. But for now, the market is making a dangerous bet that the positioning from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson doesn’t need to be taken too seriously. 

His government is planning to bring legislation this week that would effectively write into British law the negation of much of the deal it reached with the European Union only last year over how Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic of Ireland would be treated after Brexit. It was Johnson’s decision to concede ground on this issue at a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar last October that enabled a negotiated settlement. Without giving way on Northern Ireland, the U.K. would have left with the dreaded “no-deal.”