With 18 days left to the deadline for the UK’s departure from the European Union, the nature of that exit is being formed in London.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May is currently trying to pursuade the House of Commons to back her revised withdrawal agreement, but appears set to fail when a vote is run later this evening.
The UK Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox appears to have unwittingly dealt a fatal blow to the Tory leader's plan. Having read Mr Cox's written legal opinion, the DUP had initially remained silent on their voting intentions. However, having heard him answer questions on the matter in the House, the unionists vehemently came out opposed to the deal. Political commentators predict that the DUP will actually vote against the Prime Minister, as opposed to simply abstaining.
Meanwhile the Brexiteeer wing of the Conservatives, the ERG, have already come out saying they will not support the deal.
Plagued by an audibly sore throat, Ms May has repeatedly stressed that if MPs reject her deal they risk a no deal Brexit, or possibly Brexit not to happen at all.
None of the amendments tabled to the Brexit motion have been selected by the Speaker John Bercow which means there will be a single vote on Theresa May's deal at the end of the debate, which is due to conclude at 7pm. A result is expected around 7.15pm.
If as seems likely, the vote will be lost, there is mounting speculation that the British Government will be unable to proceed, forcing a general election.
Earlier this afternoon the AG’s Mr Cox outlined to the House of Commons that in his legal opinion the “legal risk remains unchanged” and if there was no “demonstrable failure” of either party the UK would have “...no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement”.
The Irish backstop is the stumbling block for many of the Brexiteers; and is also being used by so-called Remain MPs as a means of obfuscating Britain’s path in an effort to bring about a second vote.
Political commentators were predicting that the DUP could not back May’s deal following the AG’s advice.
Speaking on the matter Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the legally binding assurances to the Brexit deal agreed between the EU and the UK do not undermine the backstop or its application.