THERESA May is in trouble (“Davidson intervention forced May’s hand over Ireland deal”, The Herald, December 6). Late on Tuesday evening, there was no indication that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was hurrying to meet the Prime Minister.

David Davis assured the DUP that Northern Ireland would not be “left behind” in the single market and that “regulatory alignment” would apply across the UK post Brexit. This would also alleviate a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

But will it? What will be aligned? It does not automatically mean remaining in the single market and customs union, does it? And will the four freedoms apply?

How will those aspects outwith the regulatory alignment be dealt with at the border between the UK and the EU and across the Irish “divide”? And if the regulatory alignment is minimal in extent and other trade deals outwith in the “wider world” come into being, there will surely be “hard” border checks of some description. And where the UK “diverges” from the EU, how is that to be regulated at the “borders”? Messy.

Regulatory alignment does not encompass everything and the EU said no cherry picking is to be allowed especially for passporting financial services. Or was Mr Davis making it up as he was placating his MPs? So a degree of “hardness” is inevitable. Labour and the Tories and the DUP are firm on leaving the single market and customs union.

Although Labour is beginning to soften, yet nothing official or definitive has come from Jeremy Corbyn, who seems to have gone silent. That red line cannot be got round other than with full compliance in line with the Norwegian model. Regulatory alignment is a smokescreen. The devil is in the detail. One can see the EU walking away in frustration and leaving Westminster to World Trade Organisation mayhem.

John Edgar,

4 Merrygreen Place,


IT is time for those negotiating Brexit to sit down around the table and decide what requirements are essential for the UK in the post-Brexit world. If these conditions are acceptable to the EU then these prerequisites will determine what subsidiary conditions must apply.

It appears that the first requirement is that the UK should leave the EU (“Brexit means Brexit”) while the second is that there should be no hard border in Ireland and that the same conditions should apply in Northern Ireland as in the rest of the UK.

Consequently, we have no option but to agree that the UK should leave the EU and remain in the single market and customs union.

At present, we have only had a referendum which has determined that we leave the EU. If the consequences of the need to maintain an open Irish border are unacceptable then there has to be another referendum.

Since Northern Ireland does not have a land border with the rest of the UK, the electorate in the province could, at the same time, be asked if they wish to remain within the single market and customs union if the rest of the UK decides not to do so.

Sandy Gemmill,

40 Warriston Gardens,


IT is time to stop this Brexit shambles as Article 50 can still be revoked.

All it needs is a Labour leadership that has, instead, been whipping its MPs to support a hard Brexit, against a customs union and single market.

Unlike Ruth Davidson, Nicola Sturgeon has been the only leader in the UK with a consistent and coherent Brexit plan as outlined in Scotland’s Place in Europe, with minimal damage to the UK and Scottish economies along the lines of the Norway position.

Ms Davidson is putting DUP interests ahead of Scotland’s vote to remain and specifically opposes a deal that protects Scotland’s businesses and economy.

On Monday, all of the Scottish Tories voted in the House of Commons to allow Westminster’s power-grab over 100 devolved policy.

These include powers over farming support, fisheries, fracking, genetically modified crops, railway franchising, cooperation between Scotland’s justice system and EU counterparts and environmental regulations.

Not one opposition amendment was accepted but it is not too late for the UK Government to make the necessary amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to respect the devolution settlement.

Scotland’s share of the UK’s Brexit bill will remove £4.25 billion from our budget over 10 years, which is much greater than the £600 million to £1.5bn over a decade that the No campaign told us would be the “unaffordable” independence transition


With support for independence standing at 47 per cent, Theresa\ May will want to avoid another Scottish referendum but she needs to come up with a bespoke customs union and single market deal for Scotland on similar lines to the one she has been striving to secure for Ireland.

Mary Thomas,

Watson Crescent,


I BELIEVE that Ed Archer (Letters, December 4) is being extremely optimistic if he believes that useful reform of the EU could occur should the UK decided to ditch Brexit and work for change from within.

Margaret Thatcher negotiated a rebate for the UK in the 1980s. Tony Blair sacrificed a significant proportion of this in anticipation of improvements in the Common Agricultural Policy. I think we’re still waiting.

In the run up to the referendum campaign, then prime minister David Cameron and his government ministers made several trips to various European cities to meet European national political leaders and EU functionaries, all of whom, we were assured, shared that government’s views of the need for structural and functional reform of the EU.

Only they didn’t, and eventually all Mr Cameron had to show were a few trivial concessions that were related to peripheral issues.

Even these were grudgingly offered and could be rescinded at the whim of the relevant EU governing bodies.

There are a number of Balkan nations in negotiations to join the EU in the not too distant future.

They will all be supplicants for cash, and I fear that our chances of seeking reform in the future will be even less than they are now.

Christopher W Ide,

25 Riverside Road,


East Renfrewshire.