BORIS JOHNSON is now the most powerful politician in Europe.

Mrs Merkel is frail and her country’s economy is teetering on the brink of recession. France is in flames. Italy a broken joke. The rest don’t matter.

The UK is riding high and ready to demand a free trade deal by the end of next year. Only a fool would resist.

Domestically Mr Johnson can do precisely what he wants. It is therefore imperative that his advisers keep his ambitions in check and ensure he doesn’t make crass mistakes that could lose him the public support he obviously enjoys today.

2020 promises to be the year that the UK forges ahead as an independent, thriving and socially conscious country. I am at long last optimistic about the future.

D W Lacey, Durham.