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While it is possible to cobble together a blocking minority to block a particular proposed deal, there is no "no deal" proposal to block. It is simply the default outcome of the A.50 process. Mark Rutte is as helpless as everyone else if the UK decides to go down the no deal route.

If May actually came back to Brussels with a Commons vote in her handbag which explicitly said the UK would approve the deal if a precise particular change was made, that would put the EU in a difficult position. For instance, if the "backstop" was time limited, the EU could approve the revised deal even if it meant selling out Ireland.

The EU could argue that a "no deal" scenario would impose a hard border on Ireland anyway, so conceding on that point in exchange for a deal made no material difference. The problem is that May has never come up with a convincing assurance that a particular concession would guarantee UK ratification of the deal, and so the EU has never been put in that difficult position.

What is the point of making concessions when the UK might simply come back looking for more? In the words of Arlene Foster (in relation to Sinn Fein) if you feed a crocodile, they will simply come back looking for more. This is where May's lack of authority, trust, and standing as a leader has undermined the UK negotiating leverage. However that could change if the House of Commons actually approved the deal subject to certain precise conditions.

Does she have the nous to even attempt such a thing? Can the House of Commons now approve the deal under any circumstances?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 13th, 2019 at 01:11:27 AM EST
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