The DUP and ERG have killed May's deal and probably her premiership
The only question is whether the prime minister's Brexit deal will be defeated by a greater margin than last time
Both the Democratic Unionist Party and the European Research Group, the hard right Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative party, will not support Theresa May's Brexit deal in tonight's meaningful vote in the House of Commons.
Late last night, the prime minister rushed across the English Channel to Strasbourg to meet with the president of the European Union's commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. In a press conference at close to midnight local time, May announced "legally binding" changes to the Irish backstop had been agreed by both parties.
The backstop is the key area of disagreement for both ardent Leavers and northern Irish unionists, albeit for different reasons.
Tory Brexiteers are concerned that the backstop could leave the UK permanently in the EU's customs and regulatory orbit, while DUPers will not allow a barrier or difference in status to exist between the North and the rest of the UK.
Unfortunately the government's attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, and apparently every single lawyer in the country, has decided that the "legally binding" changes make no significant difference to previous interpretations. No alternative arrangements, unilateral exit facility or time limit.
As a result, both the DUP and the ERG have indicated they will not vote for Theresa May's withdrawal agreement - their opposition continues, having crushed the draft the last time it was put before the house.
The last meaningful vote on May's deal, on January 15 this year, saw the largest defeat in Commons history. It was voted down by 432 votes to 202.
It’s over. The deal and perhaps May’s premiership. The DUP & the ERG & Cox have seen to that. What’s extraordinary is that no-one knows what happens next
— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) March 12, 2019
In the Commons, the DUP's deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the alleged change meant UK could still end up "trapped" in the backstop.
Dodds also sits on a board of lawyers that provides the ERG with legal advice. Another is Sir Bill Cash, who said in the Commons ahead of today's meaningful vote: "There would be insufficient protection for Northern Ireland to continue as part of the UK."