WHO is bluffing in the game of Brexit brinkmanship after MPs effectively gave Theresa May the green light to reopen negotiations on her EU Withdrawal Agreement?
Either it is Mrs May, who had previously said that her Brexit plan, defeated by a record 230 votes just a fortnight ago, could not be amended before talking up the prospect prior to the latest votes in the House of Commons.
Or it is the European Union which intends, for now, to hold firm before reverting to type by offering some eve-of-deadline concessions at the 59th minute of the 11th hour?
Given this, it is little wonder that so many people hold MPs – and the European Union – in such low regard by so many people when it is in the interests of both this Government, and the EU, to agree a sensible divorce deal so that trading arrangements are not unduly compromised.
Even after exit day on March 29 – or a future date if a tentative extension to Article 50, the offer made by Ireland’s foreign affairs chief Simon Coveney, comes to pass – both Britain and the EU will still have to work together on myriad issues from trade links to security considerations.
Goodwill by both sides at this critical juncture will go some way towards ending the recriminations that have polarised this issue for too long and building a more respectful relationship.
And, in the meantime, politicians here should get behind Mrs May and give her the support that she needs in order to have any chance of securing changes to the so-called Northern Irish backstop which satisfy both the EU – and sufficient MPs. She still has her work cut out to achieve both.