Newton Emerson: DUP defensive cunning misses big picture of being laughed out of court

Target of unionist veto over regulatory alignment would never go undetected

October 2nd, 2019: Arlene Foster, DUP leader has said that her party will support the British government's new Brexit proposals which would see Northern Ireland stay in the European single market for goods, but leave the customs union - resulting in new customs checks.

In 2015, towards the end of a previous Stormont crisis, then Democratic Unionist Party leader and first minister Peter Robinson found himself in a corner. He had threatened to bring down power-sharing if devolution was not suspended over an IRA murder. However, the British government had called his bluff. So the DUP commenced an arcane series of rolling resignations, with ministers standing down for a week, resuming their posts just in time to avoid triggering an election, then standing down again.

It was a classic DUP solution under Robinson’s tenure, stretching laws and promises to the limit to construct an elaborate face-saving mechanism.

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