It’s more the DUP than the Irish government. It’s pretty obvious that trying to make the Irish border into a “hard” border is a bad idea, even if the Irish would accept it. But that means that either Britain remains in the Customs Union or puts the border into the Irish Sea, leaving NI in the Customs Union. The Brexiteers won’t accept the first, the DUP won’t accept the second, and the Irish will veto the deal if a hard border isn’t ruled out.
Theresa May must really be regretting calling the last General Election.
Brexit was always a mess. The Irish border was always a problem. It’s just become really obvious now, and the DUP are ruling out what seems to be the only workable solution.
In principle, if everyone agrees I think it could be called off.
But the chance of that is about zero, as things are. I can’t see the government surviving if it tried. There are too many Brexiteers among the Tories - they’re making things difficult as it is.
Maybe if the Irish business brings down the Government (I don’t think it will). And if Labour get in (maybe, but I wouldn’t bet a lot on it). And if they can be persuaded to give up on it (another big maybe).
The whole things a big mess. But it’s likely to get worse rather than better.
If the May government goes, and if the new government are prepared to upset the Unionists and if the new government wants a hard Brexit it would still be easier to make special customs arrangements for Northen Ireland.
So, no. I still don’t see any real chance of it happening.
The big issue is the Irish “backstop” which is handled by keeping the entire UK in the Customs Union until the Irish border is sorted. That may appease the Unionists but the Brexiteers will hate it. Especially as the U.K. can’t unilaterally end it, as they wanted
I doubt that they will be happy about the 21 month transition period - or that there is an option to extend it - either.
And now it seems that May wants to delay (she says “defer”) the vote on her deal and renegotiate the Irish backstop. The SNP want Labour to call a vote of No Confidence. Parliament could vote down the attempt to delay the vote. 5 Tories have already said they will vote against the delay.
The way this is going, May might be moving out of Number Ten pretty soon.
The Brexiteers are trying to get May kicked out. But even if they win she’ll be Prime Minister until the Tories select a new leader. Which will take up to six weeks. So even more Brexit drama (and Tory backstabbing) to come if she goes.
May has cancelled a meeting with Varadkar to fight the party No Confidence vote.