With 45 days to go until Britain is due by law to leave the EU, with or without a deal, the prime minister will address MPs about progress in the Brexit talks, No 10 announced on Monday.
She is unlikely to signal any shift towards a closer future relationship with the EU, after writing to Jeremy Corbyn to underline her continued objections to a customs union, and instead she will focus on the backstop.
“We are absolutely clear on this: we’re not considering Jeremy Corbyn’s customs proposals, we’re not considering any proposals to remain in the customs union. We must have our own, independent trade policy,” May’s spokesman said on Monday.
“We’re waiting for clarity and movement from the United Kingdom,” Barnier told reporters after talks in Luxembourg with the country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel.
Waiting for Godot
Barnier wants clarity. He already has clarity so he must be waiting for something else.
May is very clear: No customs union, no referendum, no agreement with Corbyn.
Amusingly, the Guardian offered this bit of nonsense: "May’s hopes of cobbling together a majority were boosted on Monday as Boris Johnson said he would be willing to accept a deal with a time-limited backstop."
Let me clarify things for the Guardian, Barnier and anyone else that needs clarification.
- May wants the EU to offer a legally binding end to the backstop.
- Barnier says the EU will not offer a legally binding end to the backstop.
Is that not extremely clear?
Since that is clear, Boris Johnson's statement does nothing to boost the odds of a deal.
Clarification Toilet Paper
The EU is prepared to "clarify" the intent that the backstop will be temporary.
However, backstop clarification, unless it's legally binding, is worth about as much as used toilet paper.
Unless the EU or UK blinks, we are headed for a WTO-Brexit, most likely with a delay.
Is that clear?
Mike "Mish" Shedlock