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Tom Bower claimed the German Chancellor’s “intransigence” put Mr Cameron in an impossible situation – and was a major factor towards Britain’s decision to quit the bloc. During the course of a candid interview with German magazine Spiegel, he also suggested Mr Johnson was not on “top form” and a “loner” – while insisting he was far from finished as a political force, especially if he can make a success of Brexit.
The real villain in this whole Brexit drama is Angela Merkel
With reference to Brexit, Remainer Mr Bower, whose book, ‘Boris Johnson: The Gambler’, was published last month, said: “I’ll tell you something: my feeling is that the real villain in this whole Brexit drama is Angela Merkel.”
Mr Cameron had triumphed in the 2015 general election on a pledge to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership and hold a referendum afterwards.
However, the package of measures he signed off on February 19, 2016 was widely regarded as containing little of substance which altered the UK’s standing within the bloc.
Mr Bower explained: “Cameron needed a concession, especially on immigration, but he didn’t get one.
“If Merkel had met his demands, Brexit would never have happened.
“In my view, her intransigence is responsible for the UK’s exit.”
Mr Bower also took the opportunity to laud what he saw as Mr Johnson’s achievements during his eight-year tenure as London’s Mayor.
He said: “In these eight years he has had a record number of houses built.
“He was passionate about a better upbringing, especially for children of the working class, so that they have better future prospects.”
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Nevertheless, in a likely reference to Mr Johnson’s struggles in the face of the pandemic – which saw him hospitalised after he himself contracted the virus – Mr Bower said the Prime Minister was “not on top form”, adding: “He’s a loner, that makes him vulnerable”.
In a reference to the now-infamous slogan emblazoned across Vote Leave’s campaign bus, Mr Bower acknowledged: “Admittedly, that was a lie.
“Even so, it’s not like a lie designed to start a war.
“And in every election, opponents make false promises – you could believe or not believe the £350 million.”
Some observers have suggested Mr Johnson has been suffering from some form of malaise ever since his bout of COVID-19 prompting his recent insistence that he is “as fit as several butcher’s dogs”.
Mr Bower said Mr Johnson still had a chance to regain the initiative in the months to come.
He explained: “If he gets a Brexit deal with the EU, and if the corona crisis is over in Spring thanks to the new vaccines, he will be resurrected once more.”
Earlier this week, speaking in advance of the end of the transition period on December 31, Mrs Merkel said: “We have made clear that we don’t need an agreement at any price.
“We want one, but otherwise we will take the measures that are necessary — in any case, an agreement is in everyone’s interest.”
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)
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