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Substantively yes, but the EU is prepared to offer "assurances" around the meaning of the text of that deal to provide some face saving cover to MPs who previously voted against it. Whether that is sufficient to sway enough of them is dubious to say the least...

The very fact that it is now only a few paragraphs dealing with the Irish backstop - out of a complex 600 page agreement - that are now in contention is progress in itself.

Most MPs have probably not read the text in full in any case. Some needed a reason to oppose it and so latched onto the backstop to vent their outrage. Now some are looking for a way to get off that hook.

None thought the EU would actually stand by Ireland on this issue - hence their outrage. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Most cling to the belief that the EU always compromises at the last minute and still expect it to fold sooner or later.

But it has been the ERG/DUP which have been the driving force behind all of this, and it is this the new Independent Group is trying to change.

It looks like a delay is the only plan a majority of the house of Commons can get behind, but will the EU27 agree to this in the absence of a plan? For a couple of months perhaps in the hope it might precipitate a general election or allow the fizz of the Brexit campaign leave the body politic in the UK.

This one could yet run and run. My dark suspicion has always been that in the end someone on the EU Council will lose patience and withhold consent for a further extension of A.50 effectively kicking the UK out.

CUE outrage in the UK: Threats to withdraw the A.50 notification before B-day. Threats to pursue guerrilla war against the EU from within. Messier and messier. Eventually some deal will probably be done. We are just in the reducing expectations phase...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 12:45:32 AM EST
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