What Happened: The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar have expressed optimism that the European Union and the United Kingdom can reach a Brexit deal, The Guardian reported Oct. 16. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly attempting to convince the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to accept customs checks in the Irish Sea rather than between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Why It Matters: While the United Kingdom and the European appear to be making progress toward reaching a deal, the British government is seemingly struggling to convince the DUP to accept some key elements of the agreement. Despite optimism that both sides may be close to finalizing a deal, it remains possible that the House of Commons rejects the agreement, as many pro-Brexit Conservative Party legislators will only support the plan if the DUP backs it as well.
Background: Johnson must rely on the support of the DUP, all of whose seats are in Northern Ireland, and some members of the opposition to pass a Brexit deal in Parliament since the British government no longer controls a majority of seats in the House of Commons.
- How Brexit Could Play Out as the Deadline Draws Near (Oct. 14, 2019)
- Johnson Aims to Break the Brexit Deadlock With an Irish Border Offer (Oct. 3, 2019)
- U.K.: Johnson's Brexit Plans Suffer a Setback (Sept. 24, 2019)