May's last chance to overcome Brexit deadlock
Downing Street reports that a deadlock is still in place as MPs are due to vote tomorrow on Theresa May’s deal. This comes after the prime minister spoke last night with the European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker.
The Irish backstop arrangement continues to present a thorn in the side of May’s negotiations, with neither side having yet made substantive concessions or movements with respect to their stances.
Talks have nevertheless resumed today, although many remain sceptical over the prospect of progress being made.
Laura Kuenssberg from the BBC, for example, said that the chances at this late moment were “very remote.” She added, however, that it was still possible for a few minor concessions and assurances to placate a “number” of MPs but not enough to secure a victory for May.
At present, the current backstop arrangement seems to many MPs a potentially permanent tie to the EU. Others believe that it’s a clumsy, half-baked arrangement that puts UK jobs at risk.
Michael Gove, himself a supporter of Brexit, said that the compromise was not “reason alone” for it to be rejected. Instead, he called for unity:
“We didn't vote to leave without a deal. That wasn't the message of the campaign I helped lead.”
Boris Johnson, another prominent Brexit campaigner, categorically refused to vote May’s current deal through. He wrote in The Telegraph “The UK will have less sovereign power to withdraw from the backstop than it has to leave the EU itself”.
There are many, including in her cabinet, who fear that, if May fails to get her deal through parliament, a second referendum could come about.
Whether or not the pressure of time alone will yield any results will become clear later today.