London: There is a hole in No10’s policy bucket and the leak seems to gravitate to the Spectator magazine’s Political Editor James Forsyth who received an anonymous briefing via a long text message. The message gave much emphasis on Republic of Ireland (RoI) Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s behaviour, assumptions and a lack of cooperation with the UK. No10’s strategy.
In the face of negotiation adversity was spelled out; post-Brexit cooperative countries will be favoured and uncooperative countries will not. It also said any delay will not be considered and anyone supporting delay will be seen by the government as hostilely interfering in domestic politics. The government believes they have techniques for circumventing the Benn/Surrender Act.
This “leak” seems to have had a positive effect on the meeting between Varadkar and Johnson on Thursday, Varadkar confirmed that it might be possible for a treaty to be agreed before the end of October.
Michel Barnier and Steve Barclay, the two Brexit negotiators, reached a more positive outcome from their meeting on Friday where they agreed to intensify technical discussions in a constructive spirit with no detail forthcoming.
Johnson’s “new deal” for the EU where UK leaves with an FTA in 2021, is not considered by Conservative MP’s perfect but the ERG indicated they might pass it in Parliament. In this Withdrawal Agreement(WA) proposal Northern Ireland (NI) will stay aligned to single market rules but leave the customs union with the rest of UK.
Thus, there would be a regulatory border in the Irish Sea between NI and UK, and a high-tech customs border between NI and RoI, there is no backstop, then after four years a vote in Stormont will decide on the future alignment.
However, the DUP will not support being trapped in the EU by the single market as the rest of the UK leaves, they do not want any barriers to trade within the UK, they want to protect the economic and constitutional integrity of NI. They expect the EU to accept this.
Jeremy Hunt, former Foreign Secretary who ran against Johnson for PM has written to EU Foreign Ministers urging them to be more flexible and accomodating with this WA.
The Remainers seem to be a die-hard bunch, Remainer Speaker John Bercow and EU Parliament President David Sassoli have been having extra-ordinary discussions, Sassoli said they were on the same wavelength about managing Brexit and agreed a disorderly exit was undesirable. Philip Hammond has introduced his alternative Brexit plan along with the narrative that free trade deals do not outweigh costs of barriers to trade with EU. Meanwhile Hammond, Amber Rudd and David Gauke are coalescing an alternative Tory party with the whipless rebels, unless they are reinstated by Johnson they propose to run as a party in the looming general election.
Johnson has remained calm and optimistic policy promises about the NHS have exceeded normal Conservative limits, suchas investment in existing and new hospitals, new equipment, cancer treatments, mental health and frontline services, plus massive investments in policing and education. These are not just investments for conservative concerns these are investments for and in the British population, sensible LibDems and Labour voters should appreciate the benefits.