, 11 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
A seriously blue sky #Brexit thought that I've been having lately.

If this happens, you read it here first :)

What if the Irish offered the UK a unilateral exit clause on the backstop?

Bear with me... 1/Thread
This seems nuts, I know, but imagine a world where we are right, deep in the endzone and it is clear that this is what gets the Withdrawal Agreement over the line.

By this point, the British parliament will have demonstrated it has no appetite or majority to crash out /2
And that would clearly be the heavy price of walking away from the backstop - which anyway cuts the old Dec 2020 'cliff-edge' pretty much in half.

Have look at the positive spin of the backstop from this weeks DUP reassurance paper. /3
This is ultimately about balance of risk.

Is a UK government or parliament really going to flounce out of the backstop?

Screw up the Good Friday Agreement? Cause huge economic disruption?

I think we know the answer to that question: "no."

Quad Erat Demonstrandum /4
Put another way, this is an ejector seat that guarantees long-lasting spinal injuries.

Why would you pull the handle if you've still got one engine running and every prospect of coaxing your craft onto a safe landing zone? /5
Then the politics.

A 'no deal' it seems to me guarantees Varadkar's downfall.

His big backstop gambit will have blown up in his face.

If this was the ONE THING that saved the day , and guaranteed passage of the Withdrawal Agreement....mmmm. /6
And on the EU side?

Well, the 27 EU leaders now 'own' the backstop, it is no longer just a @MichelBarnier thing.

And they have set great store on backing Ireland, to show they are a Union and the little guys don't *always* get screwed.

So that makes it tricky /7
@MichelBarnier But let's be clear, Ireland is (as one major EU power diplomat put it to me ) a "small country" - and a tax dumper at that - so the love is not bottomless. Recession risks seem to be rising, and if the move comes from the Irish (who really will be screwed by a no deal) then.../8
@MichelBarnier What I'm saying is that everything is impossible until it is not.

Look at the EU decision to put the all-UK customs arrangement into the Withdrawal Agreement - against the wishes of some MS and Commission Legal Service. /9
@MichelBarnier You could think of an "exit clause" as something akin to the mutual break clauses that exist in many governance mechanisms.

And not even that different from UK's sovereign right to walk away from any treaty - but at an economic and reputational cost. /10
@MichelBarnier Like I said. A 'blue-sky' thought for when the darkest day, final day of this negotiation comes along.

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