Details emerging from parliamentary sources about May’s ‘draft’ Brexit deal – which is already causing ructions among the Tory right and the DUP:
- the so-called ‘backstop’ will keep the whole of the UK within the customs union rather than just Northern Ireland (NI)
- there will be an interim UK-wide customs deal to create time to finalise a trade deal – clearly two years was not enough for the Tories to get their act together on trade, let alone agree a deal
- the interim deal will be shored up by an NI-specific ‘fail-safe mechanism’ if trade negotiations are unsuccessful or anything else happens that would otherwise create a hard border within Ireland
- that fail-safe will immediately create a soft border at the Irish Sea – that is, both Northern Ireland and the Republic behind a single border, separate from the UK
- the UK will agree to shadow EU regulations to allow ‘frictionless’ EU Trade – a huge problem for Brexiters because 88% of U.K. made goods are not exported to the EU
May’s deal represents a complete capitulation born out of desperation to complete some deal, any deal, for PR purposes.
Brexiters are already trying to whip up opposition; the DUP is debating whether principle or the attractions of a further £1 billion sweetener take precedence.
And the fate of May’s government is still likely to rest in the hands of a handful of Labour right-wingers who would rather prop her up and prolong the suffering of millions than see a new general election and a Corbyn-led Labour government.