There is an understandable desire among some Brexiteers to accept Boris Johnson’s deal. Everyone is battle weary. But it is precisely at this point that Brexiteers must, at the very least, be wary of what is presented to them – and vote down the deal.
Why? First, the Withdrawal Agreement has been altered, but only in one substantive way, with respect to Northern Ireland. The backstop is gone and has been replaced with a protocol which theoretically brings NI into the UK’s new customs area but, in all practical aspects, leaves it within the EU’s customs union. The result is that NI would be subject to swathes of EU laws, including full regulatory alignment and with the ECJ as its supreme court. There would, in effect, be a border down the Irish sea.