Brexit analysis: Barnier lays waste to UK plan

The headline of one tabloid screamed “Brexit back on course”.

The polite reception in Brussels – and Dublin – for the UK’s latest Brexit paper on the “backstop”, prompted by relief that at last they had something to talk about, led some optimists in London to the view that a robust UK had pulled one over on Brussels.

Dream on.

When Brexit secretary David Davis meets the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday morning for the next talks round, he will find that the gloves have come off.

And he will be rapidly disabused of the hope that all the UK had to do to win brownie points for effort at the end of June summit was to demonstrate a plausible willingness to address the backstop issue. No-one really expected them to resolve the issue, they believe.

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