The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) might just save Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on Tuesday, according to The Sun. The DUP is reported to have indicated they are willing to help the Prime Minister as long as the deal will provide a “short time limit” to the Irish border provisions/backstop.
While winning over the DUP’s 10 votes in Parliament isn’t all the significant in itself, the knock-on effect it could have could completely turn around the fortunes of the Prime Minister’s deal. If May can get the DUP on board, then she can likely get a large amount of her own party on board. While her deal was shot down in Parliament by 230 votes, she only needs to win over a further 118 MPs to get the deal passed through Parliament.
If the DUP can get on board with her deal – assuming that May is able to provide some kind of assurance that there will be a time limit to the backstop – then May could potentially win over those 118 MPs and hit the 320 mark that will give her a majority in Parliament. I think that’s something Jacob Rees-Mogg would go for, given the looming threat of Parliament taking over negotiations and potentially delaying Brexit. Rees-Mogg and other Brexiteers are very aware of this threat, which is why he recently suggested the Queen should shut down parliament if a No Deal Brexit is ruled out.
The Sun claims that private negotiations and deliberations are now taking place between the DUP and the Prime Minister. A senior DUP source told The Sun:
“If she fails on Tuesday, Parliament will take over and we lose any semblance of a decent Brexit. We have to help her now, so we’ll vote with the Government if they agree the right amendment. That’s looking like a short time to the backstop at the moment.”
And while Northern Ireland is sitting down and working with the Prime Minister to make a success of Brexit – or at least, try and deliver some semblance of Brexit – Leo Varadkar in the south is throwing a hissy fit. The Republic of Ireland leader is now threatening to put Irish troops and police officers back on the border in the event of a No Deal Brexit…despite saying just three days ago that there would be no need for a hard border. In fact, many times over the last few months, Varadkar has said there would be no need for a hard border. I wonder what changed his mind?