After the week she’s had, Theresa May could be forgiven for finding discussions at this weekend’s G7 summit in Québec – which could take in disarming North Korea, preventing a catastrophic trade war between the world’s economic superpowers;, and taming Iran’s nuclear ambitions – reassuringly straightforward. The past few days in Westminster have been sometimes reminiscent of that febrile period in the summer of 2016 when the Conservative leadership contest descended into an unseemly squabble, allowing May to rise above the fray in her lucky tartan suit. Except now she’s meant to be in charge. What’s behind the latest furore? The immediate cause was the “backstop” for preventing a hard border in Ireland. Britain had long promised a counter-proposal, after Brussels suggested in February that the best insurance policy, if no alternative could be found, was effectively to keep Northern Ireland in the single market and the customs union. That wouldn’t fly with the DUP, so the prime minister had to persuade her Brexit inner cabinet (reluctantly, in the case of David Davis) to sign up to the idea that the whole of the UK would remain in key aspects of the EU customs union until a better idea came… Read full this story
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