The UK Parliament is rumoured in some quarters to be nearing a breakthrough in negotiations that will enable an altered version of Prime Minister Theresa May’s sellout deal with the European Union to be accepted by elected representatives. It is thought a proposal by Graham Brady, leader of the Conservative rank and file (back benchers) which would throw out the hated ‘Irish backstop’ might persuade MPs in her divided Conservative Party, as well as the 10 members from the Democratic Unionist Party, the Northern Ireland party that props up her government, have been demanding do for months.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the DUP is preparing to back an amendment tabled by Graham Brady, the leader of the Tory backbenchers, that will call for the removal of the Irish Backstop, to be replaced by an unspecified “alternative arrangement”. Though the EU27 has insisted that the negotiations over the Brexit deal are finished, and that it wouldn’t be willing to make any more alterations to the deal, there have been signs that leaders of the EU27, under pressure from businesses in Europe that fear a no deal Brexit would harm them as much as the UK, might reluctantly reopen negotiations in a bid to avert a “no deal” Brexit scenario, which economists believe would be a disaster both for the UK and the Continent.
This blog has always believed a no deal Brexit and trading with the bloc under WTO rules is nothing to worry about, and as economists have a track record of being wrong more than 99% of the time, the fact that they strongly oppose no deal adds strength to our argument.
Brady’s amendment is broader than another amendment tabled by Tory MP Andrew Murrison, which calls for adding an expiration date of Dec. 21, 2021 to the backstop. And while May has continued to publicly oppose throwing out the backstop, the fact remains that it has been clear for months now that any deal with the backstop attached has a snowball’s chance in hell of survival.
Because of this, May is reportedly quietly hoping that, if she can get the DUP on board, along with some 80% of Tories who it’s believed would support a deal without the backstop, it would give her enough juice to convince the EU27 that it would be worth renegotiating the deal. But no matter what is accepted in Westminster, the EU must also be persuaded to accept it and that is as likely as a three legged horse winning The Prix De L’Arc De Triomph. But before the deal goes back to the EU there are still obstacles.
from The Daily Telegraph:
DUP sources confirmed that the Brady amendment would be essential to passing the Brexit deal.
A DUP source said Sir Graham’s amendment represented the best way forward and that it would send the issue back to Brussels with a clear demand for change.
“Certainly the Graham Brady amendment looks promising for us,” the source said.
The DUP believes the EU is beginning to accept changes will have to be made to the backstop for Mrs May’s deal to be agreed by MPs.
Sir Graham told The Telegraph the backstop “can’t get through the House of Commons – and that leads to alternative arrangements” as he said he hoped his amendment would secure Government support.
“It seems to me the only agreed exit from the EU that can command a majority is the Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop,” he said.
Renewed hope for May’s deal has driven the British pound higher on currency markets, at close of business on Friday it stood at €1.15 and close to $1.30 after it’s strongest weekly performance for a year. The ever – reliable (not!) online news site BuzzFeed reported that May’s Chief Whip Julian Smith has been drumming up support for the amendment by hinting that the government would push for a reopening of the agreement.
The EU27 however, does not like the idea of reopening negotiations or adding time limits to the backstop (as Michel Barnier again made clear earlier this week). And France’s cheese-eating-surrender-monkey-in-chief, Emmanuel Macron has previously stated his position that the backstop must be indefinite and can only be removed by the Irish government in Dublin (which would only be given if the reunification of Ireland is agreed,) So it looks as if soft Brexit supporters are pinning their hopes once again on the notion that an alliance between May, the DUP and the Remainers might finally. materialize – and that everything else (namely, the EU27) will just fall into place. If that happens I hear bookmakers are offering very good odds on The Loch Ness Monster being captured, aliens landing on The White House lawn, and Elvis appearing at the O2 Arena in 2020.