Very difficult hand to play John Curtice issues stark Brexit warning to Truss and Sunak

Boris Johnson receives perfect score for Brexit from Rishi Sunak

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The polling expert said Boris Johnson’s replacement needs to show Brexit has “brought some glorious renaissance”. But Sir John warned that in the current economic climate with the cost of living crisis it will be “very difficult to do” ahead of the next general election due in January 2025.

The professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde told Express.co.uk: “They need to try to persuade people that Brexit has brought some glorious renaissance.

“That becomes very difficult to do, not because the claim isn’t necessarily true, but in current circumstances it’s very difficult for changing your trading relationships to show through in the state of the economy.

“Even if you do start to deregulate and you think it’s going to make a difference, is it really going to turn the economy around between now and the next general election?

“That’s the kind of long-term change that’s not going to produce some immediate instant reaction. So very difficult hand to play.”

Sir John made the comments as he discussed the challenges facing Mr Johnson’s successor.

He said: “In hindsight, the biggest mistake the Tories made was to win in 2019. It’s a terrible legacy.

“It’s not their fault that Covid happened. It’s not their fault that Covid has had an enormous economic shock.

“And we’re heading towards the biggest decline in living standards since 1945.

“It’s not their fault that the Russians decided to invade Ukraine.

“If you operate on the simple premise that it is very difficult for governments that preside over economic decline, even if that economic decline is nothing to do with them, to win the next general election.

“Just look what happened to Labour in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008/09.

“And actually the impact on living standards of the current cost of living crisis look as though it is going to be significantly bigger.

“So it’s just a terrible legacy and the big question that will face whichever takes it is they’ve got two years to try to turn things around.”

The Foreign Secretary and the former Chancellor are going head to head in hustings across the country this summer taking questions from Tory members who will decide who gets the keys to No 10 in September.

Key points of contention are likely to be Brexit, tax, spending, immigration, identity politics, defence, climate change and the NHS.

Hustings kicked off on Wednesday and there will be a total of 12 events before voting closes on September 2.

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