The most high-profile was Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionists, who was in Brussels yesterday. Yet, because the Stormont power-sharing assembly is still in abeyance after the DUP and Sinn Fein fell out in January last year over a political scandal linked to green energy, it means Mr Barnier has to listen to a range of views rather than negotiate with the Northern Ireland executive.
As such, it’s all the more reason to regret the political vacuum that still exists in Northern Ireland – and Theresa May’s decision to form a Parliamentary pact with the DUP after the June 2017 election is a complicating factor. The Prime Minister knows every vote will count when any deal is put before MPs, especially given that there are said to be a hard core of at least 40 Conservative backbenchers who will oppose a “half-in, half-out Brexit” in all circumstances.
Yet, as the political pressure, and expectations, increase ahead of next week’s EU summit, families have a right to expect more statesmanship from MPs of all sides than they have seen in recent times.