If Theresa May had a “lightbulb moment” more than a year after the EU referendum had taken place, as Sam McBride relates on Saturday (‘A broken Whitehall which knew more about China than about NI,’ May 29, see link below) then that may have been in the late autumn of 2017 when she realised that the largely fabricated problems of the Irish land border could provide a pretext for her to give the CBI and other business pressure groups what they wanted over Brexit.
Mrs May is my MP, and I repeatedly pointed out that there was an easy solution to that supposedly intractable “conundrum”; that any problem which existed was actually a problem for the EU, rather than for the UK; but to show goodwill towards the Irish Republic and the EU we could pass and enforce a new law to regulate goods exports across the border.
There must have been a reason why she was not interested in that proposal in February 2018, nor at any subsequent time when it was presented in various different ways, nor q8 months later when a more highly developed proposal along broadly similar lines was published by the former EU Commission official Sir Jonathan Faull and two professors of law.
It is hard to say who is most to blame for the current debacle over the Northern Ireland Protocol, whether it is Theresa May with her desire to keep all of us under the economic thumb of the EU, or Boris Johnson who inherited the mess she had created and made it far worse by singling out Northern Ireland to be left behind when the rest of the UK escaped the orbit of EU law.
Dr DR Cooper, Maidenhead
• Sam McBride: A broken Whitehall which knew more about China than about NI
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