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Yes, but the Brexiteers keep talking about a Canada+++ deal which most certainly couldn't be passed without all parliaments agreeing. In addition movement to a free trade deal also required an agreement to avoid a hard boarder in Ireland, so even a "narrowly defined" trade deal would require at least a bilateral deal with Ireland, and probably EU agreement that N. Ireland remains within the CUSM even as GB leaves. So I think your point is moot in this context.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 09:36:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if the DUP votes against the current agreement, their value to May is eliminated, so the sensible next step for her would be to throw NI under the bus.
by asdf on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 10:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That, I think, will be the next step if the DUP do vote against the deal. Take GB out of the CUSM - and thus out of the backstop agreement, and give it the freedom to conduct its own trade deals - but leave N. Ireland in. I doubt most conservatives care all that much about N. Ireland, and giving the UK the freedom to take its own place in the world might be reason enough to ditch N. Ireland. After all the DUP have also (eventually) signed up to the Good Friday Agreement.

The problem for May is that she doesn't have enough votes to pass that deal even if all Brexiteers vote for it.  She would need to find some more votes from somewhere. The SNP might vote for it if Scotland, too, can stay in the CUSM, but that would mean a hard England/Scotland border and be even more controversial as it really would "break up the UK". The Lib Dems presumably would only vote for it if the resulting changed deal was put to a referendum.

Ultimately, if Parliament can't vote for ANY deal, a second referendum might be the only way of breaking the gridlock. Both May and Corbyn would have to agree that a second referendum is preferable to a no deal Brexit "which no one voted for". A second referendum might also require an A.50 extension unless they get their act together very quickly. Indeed that might be the only circumstance under which an A.50 extension would be agreed. In the meantime, the threat of a second referendum might be the only way to persuade the DUP and Brexiteers to vote for this deal.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 11:31:34 AM EST
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Giving NI a special economic status - the obvious outsider solution to the Irish border conundrum - would not be throwing it under the bus. It would be throwing the DUP under the bus.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 04:12:19 PM EST
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If the DUP is no longer a key player in the deal-making process, would the other parties in NI bow to inevitability and support unification and EU membership?
by asdf on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 12:36:13 AM EST
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N. Ireland voted 56%-44% to remain in the EU and the other parties would be happy with that outcome - with the proviso for the UUP and the Alliance party that there is no change in the constitutional position of N. Ireland within the UK. This situation would be analogous to the position of Denmark and Greenland. Greenland remains part of the Kingdom of Denmark but voted and was allowed to leave the EU while Denmark remained a member.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 01:07:44 AM EST
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