Brexit – a binding agreement?

Sir, – David Davis’s claim that the UK’s concessions in an agreement to move on the Brexit negotiations are merely a statement of intent has for the European Parliament’s co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt damaged trust and will see a hardening of positions in Brussels. Perhaps Mr Verhofstadt is correct. Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century philosopher, asserted that agreements had to be enforced by law, since “covenants without the sword, are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all”.

Mr Davis would seem to think that covenants – without the sword – make self-governance possible. – Yours, etc,


Lecturer in Economics,


Faculty of Engineering

and the Built Environment,

Dublin Institute

of Technology, Dublin 1.

Sir, – The long-running narrative of Anglo-Irish relations is now witnessing a reversal in the historic bargaining power of the parties due to an instrument of the UK’s own making. Perhaps the creation of Northern Ireland as the Republic’s “ghost of Christmas past” has now become the UK’s “ghost of Christmas yet to come”? – Yours, etc,


Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

Sir, – David Davis’s comment about the agreement being not binding was confirmed by the European commission’s chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas, who confirmed that it was but a gentleman’s agreement. The reaction of Guy Verhofstadt of throwing a tantrum shows that this was right, and that there appears to be no gentlemen in the discussions. – Yours, etc,


Wirral, England.

Sir, – I am somewhat perplexed but here goes.

The deal between the EU and the UK is a testament to the desire of said parties to oversee a deal that will lead to the onset of part two of the deal that will in turn lead to many other deals, culminating in a final deal that will mean that both parties have reached a conclusion in their dealings, notwithstanding the deal, which is proposed to facilitate the moving on to the second phase of the deal, is in retrospect not really a deal until a final deal is reached, in which case the original deal may be included in an all-encompassing deal. But if no such final deal can be reached as a result of the dealings between both the UK and the EU, then the first deal that was provisional on the outcome of the overall deal now falls, as no deal had been reached in finality and, with hindsight, the original deal to allow the second stage of the deal to be exercised now can be regarded as no more than an expression of intent to do a deal dependent on that deal actually being done. – Yours, etc,


Clondalkin, Dublin 22.