Q&A: Has there been any new progress on Brexit?
This was hyped as the week we would finally see the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement. What happened?
Theresa May pulled back from briefing her cabinet on the full plan because she is still unsure it will approve. She needs ministers to back it or the country could be heading for a ‘no deal’ scenario and possibly a general election.
Had they reached a compromise on the Irish Border question? THE EU and chief negotiator Michel Barnier (below) has conceded to the idea of a UK-wide customs arrangement rather than one that applies exclusively to Northern Ireland. However, the Irish Government insists a ‘backstop’ for Northern Ireland must also be agreed in case the UK leaves the customs arrangement at some stage. Mrs May admitted this could see Northern Ireland operate under different regulatory rules. DUP leader Arlene Foster has been consistent in saying any deal to maintain frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic cannot lead to checks on the Irish Sea.
Can Theresa May just ignore the DUP?
(below) Will a ‘review mechanism’ help Theresa May get this over the line?
The PM rang Leo Varadkar to ask if he would be open to including an exit clause in the ‘backstop’.
He agreed to look at the idea — but made it clear the backstop must be in place “unless and until” a better arrangement is devised.
Any deal will have to be passed in the UK Parliament, which means the PM needs to count her numbers carefully. Ideally, she needs the DUP’s 10 MPs on board.
But the DUP made it clear a year ago that it wouldn’t tolerate any regulatory divergence from the rest of the UK?