It might be sceptical to assume that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that has held two consecutive Conservative governments at knife point are looking for a bribe to pass a deal… but it would also be largely correct. Throughout the Brexit process the European Union has been perceived as the enemy of progress, ever since forcing the premature declaration of Article 50 through to its immovability on the backstop caveat. If the DUP isn’t extremely careful the EU will assume the high-ground with the British electorate directing its frustration towards the 6th-smallest party in the Chamber. To judge sentiment across the channel and Irish sea cast your eyes on the below quotations from EU leaders:
Yesterday evening I was ready to bet that it’s all set and agreed, today there are certain doubts on the British side. – Donald Tusk EU Council President
I think that a deal is just being finalised and we’re going to be able to work on that tomorrow. – Emmanuel Macron French President
I do think we are making progress, but there are issues yet to be resolved and hopefully that can be done today, allowing us to ratify the agreement at European Council tomorrow. – Leo Varadkar Irish Prime Minister
Juxtapose this with an aggrieved Arlene Foster leaving Number 10 Downing Street yesterday having not found an accord with Boris Johnson. Johnson has already entertained talks with the DUP this week about a cash settlement claimed to be in the “billions not millions”. The British taxpayer would be footing the bill for the injection of cash in Northern Ireland. As Johnson travelled over to Brussels this morning to begin the long-awaited summit with the European Union, he still doesn’t have confidence of knowing that he has the votes at home to pass any agreement into law. With the European Research Group now swaying in favour of the Prime Minister’s deal, the hurdle that confounded May’s deal has been surmounted. But with a minority position in the Commons, Boris could need as many as 33 additional votes from outside his own Party.
The issue fermenting on the Irish Border is that of “consent”. To break the Northern Irish backstop issue Johnson has negotiated a system whereby both sides of the border should renew the mandate for the border solution at regular intervals. With Stormont suspended at present, as it has been for the past three years over cross-party disagreement, the concern for the DUP is that a process of simple majority voting could see the DUP outmuscled by a Sinn Fein coalition. The Pound has lost ground this morning, falling well short of 1.28 against the US Dollar, an important target and resistance level.
Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter