DUP anger at May’s attempt to blame them for Brexit chaos is driving talk of a 1-year extension
The DUP has begun to brief media that it would prefer a one-year extension to the UK’s exit date from the EU to the short delays currently on the table.
According to Northern Irish sources, this is driven by a desire on the part of a ‘seething’ DUP to issue ‘payback’ for May’s decision to blame the DUP in the Commons yesterday for the delays her incompetence has caused:
The DUP are seething. May has f*cked them over quite badly – blaming them for the impasse from the dispatch box and allowing [Irish PM Leo] Varadkar to use threat of a hard border when it was never a risk.
This could be a negotiating stance for the next week to see if they can extract more concessions, but it doesn’t feel like that. They also seem livid that Rees-Mogg appears to be shaping up to abandon them, though whether he actually goes through with it is another question.
The government, however, is claiming that it hopes to win the support of all DUP MPs except for that of what the Tories describe as ‘hardliner’ Sammy Wilson.
Whatever the DUP’s exact motivations, it’s announcement will have thrown May into even more disarray – just when it seemed that was impossible – and could kill May’s withdrawal agreement. But perversely it may also drive some Tory Brexiteers who have been aligned to the DUP’s viewpoint to peel away and back the deal rather than suffer a prolonged delay.
Labour’s approach to the so-called indicative votes will need to be intelligent – and informed by the imperative of giving May no lifelines and nothing for the Tories and/or DUP to unite to either resist or exploit.
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