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Thursday 29 November 2018

The prime minister is now well into her hard sell of the sorry withdrawal deal. Theresa May is expected to visit all four home nations as she continues to fight her losing battle in selling her deal. The PM may find she faces particularly fierce resistance to her deal in Northern Ireland in particular.

David Campbell, the current chairman of the Loyalist Communities Council said: “anything that leaves Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK is dangerous for unionism.” The blasted backstop, which does exactly that, forcing the Democratic Unionist Party to vote against the withdrawal deal. Unlike the Tories, the DUP cannot play fast and loose with sacred principle, they have the electorally competitive UUP breathing down their necks.

All evidence points towards the fact that May should expect a heavy defeat for her deal in the Commons, nonetheless, she stubbornly ploughs on.

Senior intelligence chiefs have expressed major concern that the withdrawal deal will compromise vital British intelligence threaten the wider Western hemisphere’s security. Ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove has warned in a letter the ‘Five Eyes alliance’ between the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK could be put at risk by the deal.

May also faces a headache from Commons Speaker John Bercow, who has warned he has no fear to make a decision on contempt, if the government blocks MPs from seeing attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s full legal advice on Brexit. Theresa May remains staunchly against the publishing of the legal advice, on the basis that it is privileged.

It is not just the Conservatives who find themselves in something of a mess over Brexit. Corbyn has thus far not supported calls from within his party for a patronisingly-named ‘Peoples Vote’, however pressure is building on the leader of the opposition after Shadow Councillor John McDonnell told LBC that Labour would inevitably end up backing a second referendum.

Hard-line Remainers within the party such as David Lammy and Chuka Umunna have thrown their weight behind calls for a second referendum. In total, 53 MPs across several political parties have publicly backed the mad proposal. These MPs are of course assisting the EU in a classic tactic they deploy when they do not get the result they want, by making electorates vote again until they do indeed get their desired result. This was recently evidenced in 2008 when Brussels made Ireland vote again after they rejected the Lisbon Treaty. Corbyn would be wise in this moment to be reminded of the millions of Labour voters who turned out in favour of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union in 2016.

Fear-mongering over a possible no-deal outcome continues to be the dialogue in many newspaper headlines. It is exactly this attitude that no-deal cannot be an option which left May with no leverage in her negotiations with Brussels, and her subsequently woeful deal. The Times front-page headline states that a no-deal Brexit would see the worst financial crash since the 1930s.

This is something we have seen before. Predictions of a financial apocalypse after the referendum result have been completely unfounded. The Treasury and the Bank of England’s flimsy forecasts, both released yesterday will no doubt be used by May as evidence MPs must accept her deal and Remainers that another vote must take place. The first ‘project fear’ in the build-up and aftermath of the referendum has been disproven, now the tactic are being used again. In reality, a no-deal outcome would leave the UK truly open to global trade, and the true potential of Brexit could be realised.

On a more positive note for Brexiteers, not all newspapers have rushed to join the bandwagon of fear on what a no-deal Brexit may bring. In fact, the Sun has near endorsed a no-deal Brexit, stating that Britain should not fear the unknown. Theresa May has continued to rule out such a possibility, arguing the UK will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, otherwise we would be looking at preparations, particularly at Britain’s ports to rival those in the Netherlands and France.

Jean-Claude Junckers right-hand man, bully-boy Martin Selmayr has tried to ease the concerns of the EU27 member states by assuring them of the EU’s all-powerful position in negotiations. This comes as countries such as France and the Netherlands are tensely keeping an eye on whether they will continue to have access over UK fishing waters.

Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement has been dissected and torn-apart from all-angles. Until 11 December, we can expect hysteria and intense speculation to continue.