When Theresa May first started negotiating Brexit, Michel Barnier, the EU's negotiator, suggested a Northern Ireland Backstop.
Theresa May how to reject that idea because she needed 9 DUP MPs to hold her fragile coalition together.
BBC Brexit Basics shows a NI solution is what the EU originally proposed.
A Northern Ireland only backstop? This is what the EU originally proposed.
It would involve Northern Ireland alone remaining in the EU's single market and customs union, leaving Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) free to strike trade deals.
But the DUP - a Northern Ireland unionist party that propped up Theresa May's minority Conservative government - objected to this.
Boris Johnson revived the idea, somehow getting DUP on board, but now the EU seems united against its own idea.
European Commission Objects
Placing the Blame
The Guardian Live once again has a good synopsis.
The DUP has accused the Irish government of being “obstructionist and intransigent”. This is from the DUP leader Arlene Foster, commenting on what Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy premier and foreign minister, said earlier about the Brexit deal being unacceptable in its current form.
"The Irish government’s preparedness to dump the consent principle for their country’s expediency is foolish in the extreme and sends a very clear message to unionists."
Donald Tusk, European Council President
Tusk is "Open but Unconvinced".
What's Going On?
- Bluff by Ireland?
- Bluff by EU?
- Irish Intransigence?
- EU Intransigence?
- All of the Above?
Note the one missing ingredient: UK Intransigence.
Despite appearances, I do not think it is number 4. My guess is 1, 2, and possibly 3.
Odds of Deal
Yesterday, I noted On the Verge of a Brexit Breakthrough.
I see no reason to change that view.
The important point is not the seemingly major disagreements but rather the fact there are are major negotiations underway.
A bluff by Ireland and the EU are highly likely. The alternative is Irish Intransigence, EU Intransigence, or both.
I rule out EU Intransigence on the grounds that the EU will go along if Ireland does.
“The flippant Dublin reaction to the Prime Minister’s proposals has also exposed the reality that the Irish government would never have consented to the United Kingdom leaving the backstop if it had been implemented.”
Admitting the Trap
Majority in UK Parliament on Board
Boris Johnson has achieved something everyone thought impossible:
- DUP is on board
- Rebel Labour MPs on board
- Hard Brexiteers on board
- Most Tories on board
Steve Baker, the chair of the European Research Group, which represents Tories pushing for a harder Brexit, and one of the 28 “Spartans” who voted against Theresa May’s deal on every occasion, tells Johnson: “We now glimpse the possibility of a tolerable deal.”
Johnson says he welcomes that coming from Baker, although he says the two have spoken regularly in recent days, and so, he implies, he is not surprised to have Baker’s support.
That's pretty amazing actually. And note this.
Northern Ireland’s chief constable, Simon Byrne, has said that his officers will not staff any form of border security after Brexit. At a meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board earlier, Byrne said he had “made it clear” to the Northern Ireland Office that police would not “staff any form of border security” after the UK leaves the EU.
If Ireland or the EU sink this deal, the most likely consequence is No Deal.
Polls show that Johnson will clobber Jeremy Corbyn in an election. Heck, the Liberal Democrats might even become the opposition leader.
The EU has to understand this.
Excellent Eleven-Tweet Chain on a Landing Zone
Conclusion" The goal is a decent UK-EU working partnership with peace and legitimacy for Ireland, North and South."
Duff adds in a second Tweet "Johnson is frank about turning away from May’s agreement. In these circs, what works for Ireland that is better than no deal ?"
It is clear that May's deal was better for the EU than Johnson's deal. But it can't pass.
The choice will be between Johnson's deal (assuming he can work one out) or no deal.
For political purposes, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats want elections. For political reasons the EU does not want the UK having a say in EU policies and procedures.
Excellent Speech by Johnson
The hand of the those allegedly wanting to stop No Deal is exposed.
- No majority for a referendum.
- No majority for elections
- No majority for a caretaker government
- No majority for Remain
Labour, the Lib Dems, and SNP say their top priority is to stop No Deal and they are against Johnson doing just that!
Mike "Mish" Shedlock