May’s weakness exposed as DUP derails Brexit progress

From The Guardian: Theresa May’s political weakness was brutally exposed to Brussels on Monday, as an agreement struck between Britain and the EU to solve the problem of the Irish border and move to the next phase of Brexit talks was torpedoed by a last-minute telephone call with the leader of the DUP.

Confidence early on Monday that an agreement was within reach came to nothing when, during a working lunch with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, May was forced to pause discussions to take a call from Arlene Foster.

The unionist leader, whose party currently provides the Tories with a working majority in the Commons, told the British prime minister that she could not support Downing Street’s planned commitment to keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU laws.

In London, Tory Brexiters, including Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg, told the Brexit minister Steve Baker, and the prime minister’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, that they were also rallying behind the DUP’s stance.

The development raises fresh questions about Theresa May’s ability to deliver on any deal she proposes to the 27 member states, and has filled diplomats in Brussels with a deep foreboding for future talks, should they develop in the new year to take in the future relationship.

The news was then seized upon by Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who suggested that any promise for Northern Ireland could be replicated for Scotland. That call was followed by similar suggestions from the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.

[Read full article on the Guardian website…]