It’s become just like the filioque controversy that led to Great Schism of 1054 don’t you think? You know, when the Roman church tried to foist a change of theology on the Orthodox Greeks of Constantinople. In what became the Nicene Creed the Romans insisted on the Holy Spirit “proceeding from the Father and the Son. But the Greeks weren’t having any of “the Son” business, (“filioque” being Latin for “and the son” for all you ignorant Prods.) And never did the twain meet over the next 1000 years.
If only the EU could manage a teeny -weeny change to the exit clauses of the backstop the whole problem would go away, the Brexiteers claim – only to encounter not an inch from the EU side, after Mrs May and her bellwether Attorney General Geoffrey Cox tried one more time this week. Can there really be any hopes left to dash? But May will persist in trying to strike what her aides colourfully describe as a “deal in the desert” in the unlikely setting of the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh at the weekend when EU leaders meet the Arab League. Pity Lawrence of Arabia is no longer around, or even, Sykes and Picot.
Mr Cox had raised the prospect of inserting a clause into the Brexit deal which would allow the UK to leave the backstop without the EU’s permission, but this was swiftly rejected by Brussels as “absolutely” unacceptable.
Mr Juncker said: “If no deal were to happen, and I cannot exclude this, this would have terrible economic and social consequences in Britain and on the Continent.
“But I am not very optimistic when it comes to this issue.” He added: “I didn’t intend to address the Brexit issue any more because I have something like a Brexit fatigue, you know? Because this is a disaster.”
Theresa May has been warned by a group of 100 moderate Tory MPs that they are prepared to rebel against the Government to force her to delay Brexit if she cannot reach a deal.
The Brexit Delivery Group, which represents both Remain and Leave MPs, has called for a free vote next week on a backbench bid to take no deal off the table.
Members of the European Research Group of Tory MPs said that should Britain’s exit be pushed back, they will no longer vote for government legislation — in a move that could paralyse the prime minister’s administration. ERG members fear that MPs could next Wednesday back a proposal by former Labour minister Yvette Cooper to stop a no-deal Brexit by extending Article 50.
Ministers are prepared to resign or be sacked next week to ensure a bid by MPs to avert a no-deal Brexit by forcing the extension of Article 50 succeeds, an MP who left the Tories this week has warned.
Heidi Allen tells Chopper’s Brexit Podcast – which you can easily listen to by logging in or subscribing here: “Certainly the Letwin-Boles-Cooper 2, whatever you want to call it, is a done deal. I’ve seen text messages from ministers saying we will support it and the prime minister can choose to sack us or not. That one I have no concern at all about.”
The Times have a tortuous analysis of how she could still win with her present strategy
An analysis by the financial consultancy firm Cicero, which recently hired Nikki da Costa, Downing Street’s former director of legislative affairs, found that Mrs May could afford to lose the support of more than 30 Tory MPs and still get her deal through the Commons
The Guardian on Labour
Jeremy Corbyn is inching closer to backing a second referendum, with the Labour leader under intense pressure from senior figures including Keir Starmer to prevent more restive MPs from leaving the party and spike the guns of the splitters.
Meanwhile Brexit panic mounts
Queues for Eurostar train services at London’s St Pancras International could reach up to 15,000 passengers each day in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to a confidential report drawn up by the British government.
Operation Yellowhammer is the UK’s No Deal plan
As reported by Civil Service World, around ten thousand civil servants are working on Brexit, with tens of millions of additional pounds being spent on consultancy fees. But 5,000 more civil servants will be needed, with the Institute for Government suggesting that even this won’t be nearly enough. You can’t help but wonder what could be achieved if this concentration of treasure and talent was lavished on other pressing national issues – education, housing, health, energy, climate change, the next series of The Bodyguard. We’ll never know, will we?
In No Deal emergency plans for 15 sectors just published by the Irish government, particular contingencies for keeping operations going smoothly affecting the North most directly include the integrated energy market, pension payments and student funding across the border, extradition arrangements ( so painfully negotiated over 20 years) and what is gloriously named “ Third Country Bus Services.”
You couldn’t make up a sorry business like this .
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London