FINALLY we know what Boris Johnson’s version of a Brexit deal looks like. The plan would see Northern Ireland stay in the European single market for goods but leave the customs union.
It means that Britain can sign trade deals with other countries — such as the US — but goods cannot enter the European Union via Northern Ireland, to protect the integrity of the single market.
The EU has welcomed ‘progress’ and is examining the details, while some MPs who rejected Theresa May’s deal have indicated they could be persuaded to support it if it gets to the House of Commons.
But before you crack open the prosecco and book your November European holiday, let’s get real.
The chances of reaching a deal now are minimal.
If the UK is to leave by October 31 with a deal, it must all be signed off at the EU summit on October 17. Then the legislation must also pass through the UK parliament.
And there is still — not to put too fine a point on it — rather a lot to sort out.
The EU is still unconvinced about whether the plan really tackles customs, while Ireland is deeply concerned about the prospect of checks on the border.
Meanwhile Northern Ireland faces the prospect of two borders — and not having frictionless trade with anyone. So what’s going on? Why the warm(ish) words rather than dismissing the plans out of hand?
What’s happening now needs to be seen through the prism of the Blame Game. Nobody wants to be held responsible for a disorderly Brexit.
So Boris Johnson is putting forward some reasonable ideas — even though he knows they have a slim chance of coming off.
The EU is promising to look carefully at the ideas and continue negotiating, while Ireland haven’t completely rejected the plans (although they have raised their concerns).
MPs such as the Eurosceptic Conservative Steve Baker or Labour’s Stephen Kinnock — who wants a Brexit deal rather than a second referendum — have indicated that they could support it in the House of Commons.
They must know the chances of it getting to that stage are slim, but now they can at least be seen to have tried to get a deal over the line.
Once you realise that the political dance is as much about reputations as the detail of any deal, the whole procedure becomes much easier to understand.
Corbyn may be spared a whip round
JUST to make things even harder for the deal to pass, Jeremy Corbyn has hinted Labour MPs could lose the whip if they back it in the Commons.
‘Deal or no deal they want a Trump Brexit that will crash our economy. No Labour MP could support such a reckless deal,’ he said yesterday. It may not get to the stage where he has to find out whether or not that’s true…
Who’s pup to no good at No.10?
JUST when you thought that Westminster has had its fill of sex scandals, the prime minister’s new rescue dog Dilyn has been caught trying to have sex with the chancellor’s cavapoo.
Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson writes: ‘It’s the PM’s job to take Dilyn into the No.10 garden for his early morning wee and the dog was apparently getting on really well with Saj’s (Javid) cavapoo, Bailey, chasing her all over the place… until our PM realised Dilyn was a bit too keen — uh-oh… — and had to pull him off.’
No dirty dog puns, please…
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