If 10 Downing Street needed a reminder that it must move swiftly to close the deal on Brexit, it arrived in the form of United States President Donald Trump. Not caring much for protocol, Mr Trump supplied a stream of ready advice for his hosts as he began his state visit to the United Kingdom this week. Britain should "walk away" from Brexit negotiations with the European Union to extract more favourable terms. Mr Nigel Farage, the leader of the fringe Brexit Party which emerged with the most seats in last month's EU parliamentary elections, should be in the driver's seat. And Mr Boris Johnson, the front runner in the contest for Conservative Party leadership after Prime Minister Theresa May steps down on Friday, would make an "excellent leader".
Public opinion seems to support some of Mr Trump's prescriptions. If the 2016 referendum delivered a narrow 52:48 per cent verdict to part ways with the EU, the consensus until recently was that a "no-deal" Brexit was avoidable at all costs. Parliament, bottlenecked on the form the departure should take, managed to pass a law in April to prevent an exit without an agreement spelling out the shape of future relations with Europe. That consensus, after the unceasing civil war between politicians, has frayed so much that most Britons now want out, in any form. Mr Farage's triumph in the EU elections, where Britain's two main parties were reduced to inconsequence, makes that crystal clear.