Britain and EU Agree on Brexit Deal

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire via ZUMA

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Hooray! We have a Brexit agreement.

But I’m a little puzzled. I may be misreading something, but once you cut through the fog it appears that everyone has agreed that there will be no customs border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Instead, goods will travel freely between Ireland (part of the EU) and Northern Ireland (not part of the EU) and Britain will then sort out all applicable customs and tariffs internally. In other words, there’s now a de facto border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain.

But this has always been one of the options on the table. Why is it acceptable now if it wasn’t two years ago?

Part of the answer, I suppose, is that October 31 is increasingly looking like a real deadline, and the prospect of a hard no-deal Brexit has concentrated everyone’s minds. Another possibility is that it’s not acceptable even now: we won’t know until Parliament votes on it. If Labour opposes the deal and DUP opposes the deal, it might fail. We should know soon.

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