Theresa May’s shambolic Brexit weakness looks set to continue if reports from SKWAWKBOX sources in Ireland are correct.
Mrs May was humiliated on Monday after her team trailed a breakthrough agreement with the Republic of Ireland (RoI) on the thorny question of the border between Northern Ireland (NI) and the RoI – only for the DUP’s Arlene Foster to pull the rug from under her feet when she vowed to veto any deal that would put NI on a different footing from the rest of the UK.
Since then, the Tories have been scrambling for some kind of compromise wording that would somehow keep all sides happy. It looks as if all the compromise may have been on Theresa May’s part – and that the unhappiness will be on the Tory hard right.
When the deal collapsed on Monday, the SKWAWKBOX flagged that two options were available to the government that would meet the RoI government’s requirement for ‘no regulatory divergence‘ between the Republic and NI.
The first – an ‘Irish Sea border‘ would see the whole island of Ireland behind a single sea border – would be rejected by the DUP, because it would put a border between NI and Britain.
The second – keeping the whole of the UK within the customs union, single market and EU regulatory framework in some form – would be utterly rejected by the Tories’ hard-Brexit faction, leading to civil war within the Conservative Party.
One well-placed Irish source told the SKWAWKBOX:
The DUP, Tories and Fine Gael (the RoI government) have agreed a deal on the border.
There is a ‘fudge’ in the deal. If working class Protestants in Northern Ireland sniff out that the fudge is on Arlene’s part, expect a riot.
But the word is that the fudge is on the British side. In other words there will be a softish Brexit that means less regulatory divergence between Britain and NI. It’s not confirmed yet but it’s looking pretty solid.
On Monday it looked like the border might be the Irish Sea. Now it looks like May has caved in and it will be in the English Channel.
Expect the wording to be very ambiguous but the Tory right is going flip a lid.
If the information proves to be correct, Theresa May has opted for ‘option two with ambiguous wording’ – and the ‘civil war’ that Theresa May has apparently been preparing for may begin very rapidly, once the Tory hard right realises its import.
Watch out for lots of use of the phrase ‘creative ambiguity‘ by media and government spokespeople – which in plain English means ‘a fudge‘.
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