Chris Mason: The Brexit breakthrough is a political precipice

January 30 saw Rishi Sunak

"Let's hope this is one of the Brexit process's last truly thrilling roller coaster moments. ".

So, a government official told me, anticipating a crucial moment today but being aware that it wasn't necessarily the end of the story.

These talks between the government and Brussels, between the government and Conservative backbenchers, and between the government and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland have resembled diplomatic Jenga, with shaky bricks scattered all over the place.

One component, the agreement between London and Brussels, has been virtually completed for some time and is anticipated to be resolved today.

According to what I've heard, the prime minister spent Sunday communicating with world leaders who had an interest in all of this by phone and text, as well as conversing with a few cabinet ministers about the deal that would be finalized on Monday.

The negotiations between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission are still ongoing.

I'm told that one of the topics they will discuss is how to address Northern Ireland's "democratic deficit," or the belief held by some in London that the country needs more influence over future changes to EU regulations that will affect it.

To be clear, however, the president of the European Commission would not be coming here unless it was resolved.

You shouldn't be surprised if she meets with the King during her visit. When I inquired if this would occur, Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

But I'm told that making such promises for a meeting on Saturday that was later postponed, only to not keep them, is awkward from a diplomatic standpoint.

However, I also hear that the idea of setting up a meeting with the King so soon after a significant political event is being discussed in Whitehall. This is concerning because Buckingham Palace is constantly trying to avoid appearing to be involved in politics.

What about Rishi Sunak's political views on all of this?

A better arrangement for Northern Ireland is what Downing Street will highlight as the deal's immediate plus. as well as mending ties with the EU.

Both of these factors are important; the first helps convince skeptics that this is indeed an improvement over the status quo, perhaps over time.

The latter for everything else the prime minister must resolve with the assistance of the European Union, not least the problem of small boat crossings in the Channel.

Next month, Mr. Sunak will travel to Paris to meet with Emmanuel Macron, the president of France.

Having a good working relationship with France would be beneficial in resolving the small boats issue, which is extremely difficult.

The ultimate goal is to restore devolved government to Northern Ireland, but government sources are not making much of an effort at the moment.

Of course, they hope that eventually it will, but there is no guarantee of that. After initially sounding rather skeptical, the DUP has since become rather quiet.

Keep in mind that the DUP contains a variety of voices.

Downing Street will be hoping that the party formally commits to reviewing the deal in detail rather than rejecting it outright and loudly.

But for the DUP, politics are challenging.

Jim Allister, the leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice, an opposition party to the DUP, predicts "a day of unprecedented spin and perhaps deception as pressure is piled on unionism to give in on the protocol.". ", i.e., he doesn't sound the least bit interested.

And then there are Brexiteer Tories.

Some are currently in office, while others have gained favor.

Over the weekend, Steve Baker, who is currently a minister for Northern Ireland, entered Downing Street and emerged giving the cameras a very pronounced thumbs up.

But Tory backbencher Mark Francois, the chairman of the European Research Group, is not persuaded.

Finally, there is Boris Johnson.

We'll soon find out what he might say or do, as well as how much trouble he might fancy causing the prime minister.

For this reason, Mr. Sunak's diplomatic success also puts him in political peril.

Source link

You've successfully subscribed to Webosor
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Unable to sign you in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.