The Brexit withdrawal agreement is dividing opinions in the UK after Theresa May’s cabinet signed off on it yesterday.
The Taoiseach and EU leaders welcomed the deal, but the British Prime Minister faces a massive battle to get it passed in Parliament.
The 585-page withdrawal agreement was published yesterday and sets out how the UK will divorce the EU.
Key from an Irish point of view is the agreement on the backstop – the insurance policy to avoid a hard border on the island.
It is what comes into place if there is no trade deal reached between the EU and UK – and will not budge until there’s an agreement.
It would see all of the UK in a single customs union, where trade rules and standards are kept so similar to the EU’s that border checks will not be needed.
It is a significant win for the government, who got pretty much exactly what they wanted.
But the deal has several parts that may be unpalatable for unionists – Northern Ireland will be more closely tied to the EU than the rest of the UK.
And some goods coming from mainland Britain into Northern Ireland will be subject to checks as a result.
It is a massive uphill battle for Theresa May to now get this across the line in her parliament.
Many MPs are completely against it and she may face a vote of no confidence from Tory rebels today.
But she has insisted this is the best deal for the UK and European leaders have hailed it as a big step forward.
May now enters the trenches again to build political support for the deal.
– Digital Desk