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One of the difficulties EU negotiators have to face is the possibility that May's government may not be able to command a Commons majority for any kind of deal at all.  Why make painful concessions if they are going to be thrown back in your face? Worse, if they are then taken for granted by whatever Prime Minister comes in to replace May?

A Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn might well take those concessions for granted and the starting point for renewed negotiations and demands for further concessions. A far safer course of action for the EU negotiators would be to make minimal concessions, wait for May's government to fall, and then have some concessions in reserve for when the real negotiations begin with a Prime Minister in a stronger position.

Certainly it is not the job of EU negotiators to keep May in office, and there is nothing worse than negotiating with a weak Prime Minister unable to deliver on her commitments. May's resiling on the Irish backstop deal agreed last December should be a salutary warning in that regard.

Either way, it is difficult to see any deal being passed by the House of Commons while such wildly unrealistic expectations are held by the UK body politic. From an EU perspective, a complete breakdown in negotiations followed by a change of Prime Minister may not be entirely a bad thing, even if that Prime Minister is Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.

The point being there is little point in negotiating with a Prime Minister who cannot be trusted to deliver on her side of the bargain. This is a question of political power, not personal integrity, and the EU cannot afford to be sentimental in it's choice of a negotiating counterpart.

All of which means that the chance of a no deal Brexit goes up the longer the current fiasco of political divisions in Westminster persists.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2018 at 11:32:52 PM EST

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