23 September 2019

On 19 September three ‘non-papers’ on the Irish backstop were submitted to the EU by the non-prime minister of Britain, Boris Johnson, who has no majority in the House of Commons and was elected to his position by only about 160,000 members of the Conservative Party. His victory was secured on the promise to take Britain out of the EU by the non-deadline of 31 October (‘do or die’ – not him of course), which Parliament has declared illegal unless it approves a divorce deal (slim chance) or agrees to a no-deal Brexit (so slim as to be invisible) by 19 October. ‘Non-papers’, so called, are sometimes used when parties wish to explore whether serious negotiations are worthwhile and are defined fully in the Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy. (Laura Kuenssberg please note.) I say more about this here (see ‘p. 29’).