Theresa May is clearly playing for time. The question is for what purpose if, as now, she gets nothing from belligerent Brussels.
If she thinks that at the last moment she can bounce through essentially the same deal which has been already rejected, then such duplicity requires vigorous resistance, not least from DUP MPs.
If, the EU continues to humiliate her by offering nothing, or next to nothing, then she needs to reclaim her dignity and lead us out on world trade terms on March 29.
One mooted suggestion, which the PM seems favourable to, namely, an end date to the Backstop, is not a solution for Northern Ireland, not just because it is wholly incompatible with the Union, but because that date would become the new target date for Sinn Fein’s campaign for a referendum on Irish unification.
Thus, far from bringing stability such an arrangement would feed republican agitation. So, the Backstop has to go now, lot stock and barrel.
Critically, if the Backstop survives in any form, then, its separate treatment of Northern Ireland will become the template for the EU’s demands in negotiations on any long term trading arrangement. And, so, its divisive tenets must be laid to rest now.
Jim Allister MLA, TUV leader, North Antrim