Since I'm already hostage to fortune on this, here is the text from my weekly note on where the Brexit talks currently stand (hope it makes sense!)
It's the Chequers question again, right. There was a reasonable argument over whether to interpret Chequers (as we did at the NS) as important as it represented May going "I choose access" and there's a reasonable argument here over whether Johnson is choosing (1/?)
a border in the Irish Sea. I don't know - there is a split in Downing Street and hard to see who is in the ascendancy at the moment. But I think irrevelant as not sure there is a landing zone for that with this parliament, so essentially agree with note. (2/2)
Thanks for interrupting your hols for this! & yes, I think we should look at this deal in the round - what is it aiming to achieve and what would the EU accept in order to get this stage off the docket? On 1st, parliament is keen for a deal but not keen on handing ERG the tiller
(think that explains Lab shift -> referendum. They can see that becoming implicated in what comes next is a huge risk if BJ is at the helm)
On what EU will accept, it's complicated but my gut is that Varadkar wants to be seen as having provided the UK with every opportunity to avoid a no deal so there is will there. And EU wants to facilitate if possible - but can't overlook insurance point and operability issues.
I mean, there might be an agreement here! We're much closer than anyone expected, and looks like UK gov is in the mood to compromise. But I guess, all I have at my disposal are the terms sketched out by unofficial briefings so in best-guess territory on probabilities.
Yes. I think also that there is an under-appreciated difference between NCP(NI) - the @RaoulRuparel plan loosely - and the @MESandbu plan - which is a much fuller Irish Sea Border “neutralised” by the rebates. U.K. wants former and that’s v hard. Thread later.
Would UK government accept not being able to protect domestic industry in this way though? From Minford model, I guess that's not a concern (shifting from non-competitive industry is feature not bug) but the political realities may, err, not be quite so easy to manoeuvre around.
Genuine Q: why does any Labour MP hand BJ the mother of all victories? Increases chance of Tory majority, and opens door to very hard “buccaneers’ Brexit” - which is much more about ideology than economics. Pressure on any Lab MP not to vote for that will be huge, surely?
As I understand it (hard on twitter), main difference between @MESandbu & I on this is how we balance risks. I believe his approach would offer more assurance up front for the EU by sticking more closely to NI only backstop text. (1/2)
But I tend to think that would lose DUP support so need to look at getting more detail on operation of an NCP style approach in legal text (even if some details left to be fleshed out). In the end this is about triangulating a position where both sides can accept some risk (2/2)
Prob is. Do we think EU leaders take huge punt on backing NCP(NI) - ie the Ruparel plan - when it’s not clear how it works. Then they are hostage to fortune/negotiation. Hard to see IMO. Or demand Sandbu - viz NI-only dressed up as NCP/NI? Otherwise risk giving leverage to U.K.
You may well be right. Both DUP & EU have a journey to make to landing zone in short space of time, less you ask one to move, more you ask of the other. Which is why I said at the outset this is probably too little too late. Should have proposed in Aug & things may be different
The continuity so far is to be forced to accept a backstop, the choice being only between NI-only or all-UK. I suspect the continuity will continue (in permanent relationship talks, as I don't believe the PD means much at this stage) towards very close alignment in goods.