The Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland (RoI), Simon Coveney, has stated that the Irish Backstop part of the Withdrawal Agreement will not be changed.

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The Irish Deputy PM, Simon Coveney told the BBC Andrew Marr show that the EU will not ratify Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement, unless it contains the Irish border backstop element.

This will come as a hammer blow to Theresa May as she scrabbles around making all sorts of promises about the border backstop issue to get support from her seriously floundering deal.

She is now faced with the prospect on Tuesday of standing in front of her fellow MPs with nothing more than some shredded paper to offer them.

To compound the PM's woes, it has come out from a leaked diplomatic note, that she and the President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, had a private chin-wag over the phone, where Juncker told May that the only way to resolve this issue was for the UK to surrender to a permanent customs union with the EU.

And further, the deputy President of the EU Commission, Franz Timmermans, has said that Ireland would not be thrown under the bus and that:

"As far as the European commission is concerned, the backstop is an essential element for showing to Ireland and to the rest of Europe that we are in this together." he said.

With fears that the Irish Border Backstop could, in fact will, tie the UK into a state of permanent EU vassalage, if the Withdrawal Agreement is signed up to, will almost certainly mean that the PM faces yet another heavy defeat on her deal.

Where does that leave Theresa May's government then?

Are we going to see her once again giving a long spiel at the despatch box before saying that she's off to Brussels – again – to have another fruitless chat about this intractable backstop issue? Then watching as she get dealt with yet another thumping loss in the Commons?

Are we going to see her try and change tack and, to coin the fashionable word, 'pivot' towards some new type of deal deal? Maybe she'll go against everything she said before and try and argue for something more akin to the customs union that Junckers says she can have?

Will she suddenly start coming round to the idea that we need to take a pause in order to assess our sutuation by asking the EU for an extension to the Article 50 process?

Or are we going to see her bravely state that her deal is dead and that the only way ahead now is to make the clean break and leave the EU on WTO terms?

After everything she's said since she became Prime Minister, the only proper path for her to follow now is to courageously lead the country out of the EU on World Trade Organisation terms on the 29th March 2019.

Anything else would be going back on one or other of the pledges and promises she's made during those last two and a half years.

The majority of MPs know that voting through her deal as it stands, will be the death knell for their own and their party's political hopes at the next general election as it becomes clear to the electorate what a total sell-out to the EU it is.

So they will not vote it through. We just need to take note of those that do still support it.

But when parliament says that her deal is finally dead and buried, they will move seamlessly on to say that a no deal Brexit is totally unacceptable and you will see further ramping up in the project fear narrative.

Then they will be trying all they can to extend the Article 50 process – but they need the unanimous blessing of every single EU27 nation state to get it.

And the EU27, looking on at parliament's disarray, are unlikely to give that extension, if the UK has no firm idea of what it will do within the breathing space. The EU27 will know that, unless we have a cast iron solid plan backed by the whole of Westminster, a couple of weeks or even months changes nothing.

Also bear in mind that some EU27 countries might reject an approach because they want us to leave so as to put pressure on the whole EU system. Think Italy for example.

And if or even when the EU27 say no, the UK parliament will be forced to chose between a WTO exit and the only final option that the Remain backing anti-Brexit establishment and politicians would ever stomach.

As I always suspected, it appears to be coming round to parliament, within the next 61 days, making a choice between a full WTO exit so respecting the will of the people, or ordering the government to revoke the Article 50 process so reversing Brexit completely.

The first option is laid down in UK and EU law, for the second option to be offered and acted upon would mean the government and parliament – the whole political class – going back on all the promises and manifesto pledges they've ever made since the referendum was first promised.

We are now entering the final and bumpiest part of the Brexit roller-coaster ride.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47019977

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/26/juncker-may-backstop-eu-customs-union

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