The dispute over future of Norrn Ireland has become prelude to a wider debate about EU's kind of exit from United Kingdom. A debate that seemed buried until, on Monday, agreement in Brussels on terms of divorce failed by opposition of DUP unionists to a specific solution for Norrn Ireland. The supporters of a softer Brexit wanted yesterday to capitalize on government's failure and raised taboo.
The most pro-european have always argued that vote for Brexit did not necessarily imply that United Kingdom is completely out of single market and customs union. They criticize May for making a restrictive interpretation by insisting that continuing within is not an option, as it would lead to unacceptable limitations, such as tolerating European jurisdiction or some flexibility in border control. The hard Brexit became, refore, in only possible Brexit, and any reply was effectively crossed out of negationism.
But issue of Irish border has again put a soft Brexit on table, if only to avoid greater evils. Dublin will veto progress of negotiations if it does not obtain guarantees that re is no physical frontier between Norrn Ireland and Republic. And so that re is no border, regulatory divergencies between two parties should be avoided. So, or whole United Kingdom is de facto in customs union and single market, or a tailored suit is designed for Norrn Ireland. The tailored suit will not tolerate DUP, whose ten seats May need to govern, and would also claim for itself Scotland, Wales and London, opening a dangerous territorial melon. Then, dismissed tailored suit, permanence of whole of country in single market and customs union, or something that is very similar to it, reenters debate.
One of most forceful formulations came from May's own party. It was made by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, a figure of great weight after having turned Tories into first force of opposition to nationalists in Edinburgh. "If regulatory alignment in a number of specific areas is requirement that re is no physical frontier in Ireland, n Prime Minister must conclude that that should apply to entire United Kingdom," Davidson said.
In that coincided – something unusual-with his great opponent, Scottish chief minister, Nicola Sturgeon. "This may be time for opposition and partisan Tories of a soft Brexit to force a different and less damaging approach: to keep United Kingdom in single market and customs Union," tweeted nationalist leader.
In Westminster, Labour spokesman of Brexit, Keir Starmer demanded May "to rethink its reckless red lines". It's time, he said, to put option to remain in single market "back on table." "If price of prime Minister's stance is breakup of Union and reopening of bitter divisions in Norrn Ireland, n price is too high," he defended.
Surprisingly, debate was also raised from ranks of DUP. Nigel Dodds, its leader in Westminster, explained at press conference reasons why party vetoed May agreement. They were shown draft too late, he said, and wording was too ambiguous. But he also held calls to rethink focus on country as a whole. His party, he said, wants "a sensible Brexit," and that means that United Kingdom will go "as a single nation" and with a smooth border with Ireland.Davis Davis: "Alignment is not harmonization"
The Minister of Brexit, David Davis, yesterday defended that any regulatory alignment that is designed to avoid a border on island of Ireland will apply to whole of United Kingdom, and that government does not envisage a tailor-made solution for Norrn Ireland. "The presumption of debate was that everything we talked about would apply to whole of country," he said in parliament, trying to make Unionists norirlandeses reconsider ir veto. However, Davis wanted to clarify that "alignment is not same as harmonization." "It's not having exactly same standards," he explained. "is to have sometimes mutually recognised norms, mutually recognized inspection, all that sort of thing." "And that's what we're after."