“The only way out of all these [Brexit] traps is the Stormont lock…”

Newton Emerson putting hammer to nail in the Irish Times…

The only way out of all these traps is the Stormont lock: a British government plan to give Stormont a say against any “divergence in practice” between Britain and Northern Ireland, should the backstop come into operation.

When this was first elaborated in January, Dodds dismissed it as “cosmetic and meaningless”. But two weeks ago the DUP began talking it up. The British government has since enhanced it to a “triple lock”, including the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, to prevent May’s successor unpicking any withdrawal deal.

The DUP could present this as a positive, powerful defence of the union. Nationalists need not be alarmed, as the UK would still have to meet all its backstop treaty obligations, including maintaining an open border. Nor can Brussels object, as it has declared the UK’s internal market to be entirely the UK’s business.

The only problem says Newton is what price Sinn Féin will extract and whether the DUP can thole it. But let’s not run too far ahead at this stage. This whole Brexit thing could be nearly over or merely just beginning…

Photo by Tumisu is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

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