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Theresa May fights at home to save the Brexit agreement

Prime Minister meets Unionists, opposed to special treatment for Northern Ireland

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Theresa May fights at home to save the Brexit agreement

Failed at last minute agreement in Brussels on terms of divorce, British prime Minister is already at home, where her diplomatic work, far from concluded, intensifies in a key day for evolution of negotiations of Brexit. First, a meeting with members of your Government that will serve to measure supports and suspicions. Then rounds of talks with Unionists norirlandeses del DUP, whose ten seats give May ir exigua parliamentary majority, to try to resurrect agreement y need to convince Dublin-and thus rest of EU-that has achieved enough progress in terms of divorce that will allow second phase of negotiations to move forward and start talking about future relationship between country and bloc.

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  • The EU and United Kingdom approach positions in Brexit without closing a pact
  • May's negotiation on Ireland unleashes a political gale

London, Dublin and European Commission had yesterday reached an agreement that guaranteed government of Leo Varadkar that Brexit would not bring to Ireland a physical border, which nobody wants for island. The only way to avoid need for a border, defends Dublin, is to ensure a regulatory alignment between Norrn Ireland and Republic. That is to say that Norrn Ireland continues, de facto, in single market and customs union.

But at last minute, Arlene Foster, leader of DUP, warned that her party, without whose support May government would fall, will not tolerate a regulatory alignment if it involves a set of different standards for Norrn Ireland than for rest of country. May could not persuade Foster and agreement vanished.

"We cannot ignore parliamentary arithmetic and DUP is what keeps government in power," said David Jones, former secretary of state of Ministry of Brexit this morning. "We cannot ignore that y are in a very strong political position and that y must be taken seriously."

May will not be easy to convince Foster, because move is conceptually complicated. Ensuring regulatory alignment of Norrn Ireland and Republic of Ireland, without offering special treatment to region, would necessarily imply a regulatory alignment of whole of United Kingdom with Ireland or, what is same, with European Union. That is to say, a split only half with EU that would not satisfy more defenders of Brexit and could provoke a rebellion in Conservative Party and in government itself.

The latter attests to fact that, already on Monday night, certain conservative deputies lined up with DUP and pointed out that any regulatory divergence between Norrn Ireland and rest of United Kingdom would be an unacceptable concession. And, to finish complicating everything, or figures of party have taken advantage to defend orwise. This is case of Ruth Davidson. The powerful Scottish Conservative leader, who has turned Tories into main opposition force in region, has pointed out that regulatory alignment should apply to entire country. "If regulatory alignment in a number of specific areas is requirement for absence of a border, n Prime Minister must conclude that this should apply to whole of country," she said.

All this has done nothing but push Theresa May, unable to make a concession without her power staggering, to limit of politically sustainable. "We are accustomed to seeing first ministers come to Brussels, have a fight with EU and return without an agreement, but go with an agreement with EU and n have a fight on your own side is inconvenient," concluded Peter Rickets, Extallo cargo of Foreign Offic E.


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