The EU has already opened the door to starting discussions about such alternative arrangements the minute that the Withdrawal Agreement is approved.
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If she insists on a functioning Assembly before a no-deal Brexit, why on earth would Sinn Fein oblige her?
The point is that we’re already signed up to a form of one under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. That’s what the backstop’s all about.
The EU asks: what do you want? But the Commons has said what it wants. Namely, the so-called Brady Amendment.
Precisely because it would be a rather unnecessary addition to the current deal, it is hard to argue that the proposal would be a disaster for Brexit.
He describes the backstop as “a con trick which breaks up the UK”.
“It was always totally unrealistic for the prime minister to pretend that she could drop the backstop entirely”.
In order to ensure that the Conservative Party remains able to govern effectively, I have concluded that, despite its faults, I will vote for the Withdrawal Agreement.
It would increase our power to control freedom of movement, plus our laws and finances – and deliver on the referendum result.
It really is something when a significant part of the EU leadership joins the list of agnostics. No wonder there is nervousness in Dublin.
The divisions and impatience exposed could well be real, but it doesn’t follow that Brussels is about to suddenly shift its policy.
She yesterday achieved the outcome most likely to prop her up – at least for the time being. But Cooper, Letwin and Bercow are waiting in the wings.
If he starts ringing alarm bells over the next few days, the possibility may be real. If he doesn’t – or only goes through the motions – then it probably isn’t.
The Prime Minister knows that a short extension is most likely to keep her in Downing Street. Which is why she always likely ultimately to back one.