It’s ironic that a region ignored in the build-up to the Referendum vote is now the axis of all negotiations which determine the Prime Minister’s successby Adrianne Peltz / December 14, 2018 / Leave a comment
Betwixt and between, the Prime Minister has survived the attempt to oust her with enough support to secure another 12 months of leadership—yet without enough support from her own Party to see her Brexit deal pass through Parliament. For bystanders, political hacks and the countless businesses reliant on the passage of this bill for clarity, the impasse is obvious—neither here nor there the Brexit conundrum remains unresolved.
Attention must now return to the very real predicament she faces. How to usher an unpopular deal through what is increasingly a populist parliament? The battle to keep her colleagues’ confidence pales in significance beside the task of finding a compromise between the only deal on the table—which the DUP have dubbed a “rotten agreement”—and conjuring a slew of concessions from Europe that will satisfy enough MPs to cast a meaningful vote in favour of it. Put simply, the 200 MPs who signalled their support for May on Wednesday night are a distraction from the 318 she needs to satisfy before March 2019.
At the heart of these deliberations is the complexity of Northern Ireland. It’s ironic—but unsurprising, to those up to speed with the nature of Northern Irish politics—that the regional realities that were ignored in the build-up to the Referendum vote should now be the axis of all negotiations which determine the Prime Minister’s success.
The DUP, elevated to kingmaker status, may be considering that they’ve played their cards too soon. After weeks of tense briefing against Theresa May in the hope of pressuring her to accommodate their demands, while positioning the Irish Border Backstop as a threat to the Union, they were unable to influence enough Conservative MP’s to secure a new leader more sympathetic to their interests.
With that option now quashed, the DUP must make a choice between supporting the Prime Minister and her next offering of a Withdrawal deal—or joining with Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition, risking a general election and potentially losing their current position of power within Parliament.
Commentators have emphasised the ruthlessness of the DUP’s negotiators and the fact that, with their emphasis on the union above all else, they would be…