We wrote of the eight-person panel when news of it was first announced that it had three striking features. First, at least two of its members, Bill Cash and Martin Howe, are hostile to the Brexit deal on grounds wider than the backstop. Second, that it is primarily a panel of politicians, not lawyers. And, third, that the DUP appeared to be bound to it, since Nigel Dodds is a member.
The panel has duly decided that ‘yesterday’s documents considered individually and collectively do not deliver “legally binding changes” to the WA or to the Protocol” and that “in the light of our own legal analysis and others we do not recommend accepting the Government’s motion today”. No surprises there.
So Dodds and therefore the DUP are apparently bound into the panel’s view. Since a slice of Conservative MPs will take their lead, rightly or wrongly, from the Northern Ireland party, the revised deal will presumably fail to pass later today. It’s worth noting too that the panel contains a future Conservative leadership contender: Dominic Raab.