Ben Lowry: A hard Brexit is now less likely, even if DUP support it

There has been a shift in the power balance towards Remain MPs from their Leave counterparts at Westminster
There has been a shift in the power balance towards Remain MPs from their Leave counterparts at Westminster

On page 8, Sam McBride challenges the notion that the DUP favours a soft Brexit.

As he says, the party is in fact pointing us to a statement from Nigel Dodds that backs the hardest of Brexits, exiting the European Union single market and customs union.

Statements from Sammy Wilson MP and Ian Paisley Jr MP also take a tough line.

I wonder though whether such a full Brexit is now possible, regardless of DUP wishes.

There is an increasingly visible split within the Conservative Party on the matter.

A narrow majority of Tory MPs in 2016 pro Remain. However, they were so cowed by feeling in the country and in among Conservative Party members that they acquiesced in all the key Brexit votes in the last parliament, with the exception of the veteran Europhile Ken Clarke MP.

Labour MPs were likewise mute in their opposition to the journey of travel, which was towards a hard Brexit, because they too feared public opinion.

These MPs are emboldened by the election result.The balance within Tory MPs has tilted pro Remain, due to the 13 Scottish MPs (all but one of them are anti Brexit).

Before the election I wondered what would happen to people who are strongly Tory but also strongly pro EU. I know several such people. I wondered if some of them would vote Lib Dem in protest.

In fact many Tory Remainers voted Labour in London as a protest (even though the party is nominally pro Brexit).

Now anti Brexit Tory and Labour MPs are confident. It makes hard Brexit difficult.Some politicos think it makes any Brexit at all less likely.

• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor

Ben Lowry: Moderate advocates of Irish language act should turn their ire on pro-Gaelic hardliners