James Smith, developed markets economist at ING, suggests that there is a lot of focus on the UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who is reportedly in talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to see how he can change his legal advice on the Irish backstop.
“Remember the theory goes that if the government can win over the DUP, then many Conservative MPs, as well as some Labour lawmakers, may follow in backing the deal.”
“To recap, the DUP and others want there to be a legal mechanism for the UK to extract itself from the backstop at a future date, but so far the Attorney General has been unable to give this assurance. In most recent talks within the government, there is reportedly focus on the Vienna Convention as a kind of ‘nuclear option’ to get out of the backstop – although a series of legal experts have poured cold water over this idea.”
“On the basis that the Attorney General doesn’t manage pull a rabbit out of the hat, in the end it will come down to politics. Whether or not May’s deal succeeds will depend on a) whether the Brexiteers think there is a real chance of a long Brexit delay and b) whether they think Parliament is likely to rally around a softer Brexit alternative.”