Matt Kelly: The inevitable result of this shambles is the collapse of Theresa May
PUBLISHED: 08:13 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:14 08 December 2017
The New European editor on why today's "breakthrough" will trigger a very public cabinet implosion
The Brexit can has been kicked down the road. But not far.
“In the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union,” reads Article 49 of the Brexit deal.
In plain English: if they can’t solve the insoluble border issue, the whole of the UK stays in the Customs Union.
This may be acceptable to the DUP (whose 10 MPs have had more influence on these negotiations than the entire massed flanks of the Tory and Labour backbenchers). But it is toxic to the radical Eurosceptics in the Tory party.
Why? Because if we have committed to equivalence with EU regulations of the Customs Union, it places a massive hindrance on our ability to realise all those (fantasy) freewheeling global trade deals - and it certainly rules out their dream of a Singapore style, low-regulation, low-tax haven on the fringes of the EU.
Mrs May may have bought herself a few more months, but not much more. The real Phase Two of this Brexit shambles now inevitably involves a very public cabinet implosion as the forces of Tory dogmatism tear themselves apart from the forces of Tory pragmatism.
Make no mistake, from day one it is this internal party tension that has been the driving force of the mess we find ourselves in.
In many respects it doesn’t actually matter who wins that battle. The inevitable result is the collapse of Theresa May and a new Tory prime minister who cannot possibly claim any sort of mandate from the public.
So, a general election in March, or April. Maybe May.
A Corbyn Government in 2018.
Then God knows what.
It’s rare that The New European has cause for agreement with Nigel Farage, but this day we do.
“A deal in Brussels is good news for Mrs May,” he tweeted as the news broke. “We can now move on to the next stage of humiliation.”