This week was meant to be the denouement of the UK’s divorce from the EU, as the House of Commons was due to vote on the final EU divorce deal Theresa May had hammered out with EU leaders.
May however postponed the vote the day before it was due to be held, saying that “if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin”.
Allegedly May wanted more time to return to Brussels to plead with EU leaders for concessions that would sweeten her deal, even if only cosmetically.
More than 100 of her own backbenchers indicated they would not support May’s deal, as had her Northern Irish DUP allies, and with Labour also opposed, she would have lost this vote by a large margin.
May’s trip to Brussels with be a waste of time. The eurocrats have been unyielding in their dealings with the UK on Brexit, and sure enough, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, tweeted this week that the EU “will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop”.
The “backstop” refers to the open border between the north and the south of Ireland that is the cornerstone of the Good Friday peace agreement. If the border remains open after the divorce, there will be a part of the UK (Northern Ireland) that will have the same border with an EU country (Ireland) that all EU members have with each other.
So Northern Ireland will in effect remain aligned with the EU, at least where borders are concerned, while the rest of the UK goes its…