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Theresa May’s failure to plan has left the UK floundering

16 November, 2018

Theresa May… ‘Failure to plan is planning to fail’

• MRS May is deeply in hock to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, who are propping up her minority government.

On top of the reported £1billion “bung”, the DUP tail has been wagging on Brexit. Last December, the government and EU negotiated the so-called “backstop” to guarantee an open border between the North of Ireland and the Republic.

This was set out in Article 49: “… the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement”.

So far so good, but before the ink was dry the DUP insisted on a follow-up clause 50: “In all circumstances, the United Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom.”

This is such a blatant contradiction that Mrs May must have thought she could play for time and fudge it. Now, both time and fudge have run out and without a “back­stop” there is no deal.

My opposition to Brexit has always been over the lack of a credible plan. Dominic Raab, a long-time Ultra, recently admitted he hadn’t “quite understood” the importance of Dover as our main lorry port for European trade.

Karen Bradley, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, said she “didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice-versa”.

Clearly, no one had “quite understood” the Irish border or even cares that 56 per cent of people in Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU. As they say, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

Mrs May’s failure to plan has left the UK floundering. She set sail with “red lines” instead of charts, steadfastly ignored the shipping forecast and is now hopelessly adrift in the Irish Sea. There are, as Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “Grisly rokkes blake” ahead. Man the lifeboats! Cry mutiny!

RICHARD ROSSER
Richmond Grove, N1

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