Enter the “Malthouse compromise.”

In the present fevered atmosphere, what seems like a Eureka moment inside the Westminster bubble may not survive the cold light of day.

Nevertheless, in Tory ranks excitement is building over the Malthouse compromise, a plan co-ordinated by a minister Kit Malthouse proposed by leading soft dealer Nicky Morgan. This would extend the transition period from the end of 2020  to December 2021 and allow the UK and EU to “prepare properly” for WTO terms or “obviate this outcome by negotiating a mutually beneficial future relationship”

The ‘Malthouse Compromise’ would’:

  • Replace the backstop with the alternative protocol from the ‘Better Deal’ report launched last month, which would be “acceptable indefinitely”.
  • Extend the transition period for up to a year until the end of 2021 to give time for a smooth transition to a new relationship (Plan A).
  • Include a “triple safety net” around exiting with no Withdrawal Agreement:

Continue to offer ‘Plan A’.

Agree a standstill transition period with the UK paying its financial commitments.

Offer a GATT 24 WTO-compliant standstill on trade with no tariffs, no quantitative restrictions and no new barriers for execution” to come into force at the end of 2021 if the future relationship has not been agreed by then.

Latest at 12.20  

The day is shaping up as a straight Conservatives plus DUP v Labour fight.

Labour backs Cooper plan to rule out no-deal Brexit, creating high risk of defeat for May

We’re backing the Cooper amendment to reduce the threat of the chaos of a no deal exit. The Cooper bill could give MPs a temporary window to agree a deal that can bring the country together.

We will aim to amend the Cooper bill to shorten the possible article 50 extension.

Pressure on May to endorse the Malthouse compromise

from Tim Shipman Sunday Times

It is clear to me from talking to very hardcore Brexiteers that if May endorses the Malthouse compromise that most of them will vote for the Brady amendment. “90% of the ERG will back it” one of them said. What is the prime minister waiting for? Carpe Diem or bust

DUP back Tory compromise Brexit plan

The DUP has given its endorsement to the plan. We believe it can unify a number of strands in the Brexit debate including the views of remainers and leavers. It also gives a feasible alternative to the backstop proposed by the European Union which would split the United Kingdom or keep the entire United Kingdom in the customs union and single market. Importantly, this proposal would also offer a route towards negotiating a future trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

If the prime minister is seeking to find a united front, both between elements in her own party and the DUP, in the negotiations which she will enter with the European Union, then this is a proposition which she should not turn her back on.

Rees Mogg is interested but arch Remainer Anna Soubry dismisses it for “ ripping up the withdrawal agreement and bringing No Deal nearer.

And that surely is its problem.  According to the Guardian EU officials dismissed the suggested compromise, which they said failed to offer Ireland any reassurance on the avoidance of a hard border. ( Too hasty perhaps?)   But would the EU really do a screeching U turn and begin the entirely fresh negotiation without a backstop they’ve consistently set their faces against?

Unless the EU see enough MPs uniting  on a proposal  they’re unlikely to waste capital in making May an offer. And even then it won’t be a new negotiation to replace the backstop. We’re emphatically told. What would happen to Varadkar and the Irish government if they turned turtle now, even to rescue the economy?

The PM will now open the debate this afternoon, rather than closing it – which means she has the chance to set the tone, or to spell out what she is prepared to do right at the start. Will she announce a bid to extend Article 50 to give more time to legislate, without prejudice to the default of No Deal? We’ll find out at about 12.40 by which time the Speaker will have decided which amendments to call.

By deciding to open the debate, May is ensuring that she has the chance to deliver these assurances in full, in time for MPs to consider them before the votes.

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson said his party wanted assurances from May about what her plan to replace the backstop would actually involve before it agreed to vote for the Graham Brady amendment.  

I’ve a strong suspicion that many MPs are backing positions they believe ultimately won’t work for two reasons : one, it gets them over the immediate hump without their party fundamentally splitting; and two, to be seen to go the extra mile before backing a solution unpalatable either to their constituents or indeed themselves, the prevailing common aim being to prevent a No Deal. A straight Cons v Labour contest in a week or two would simplify matters for many and leave the initiative to a strongly motivated cross party few.


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