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Following the debates in the House of Commons last week, the issue of how to handle the Irish border is now the main remaining point of contention at Westminster. Mrs May will try once more to get changes to the terms in her deal when she returns to the EU this week.
After two dramatic votes in two days, Westminster is deadlocked. Mrs May cannot get her policy through but remains prime minister. Behind the surface stalemate though, deeper conflicts are playing out.
MPs return to Westminster after their Christmas break to a position of unusual tension – whoever makes the first move risks damaging their own cause more than their opponents’.
With insufficient support in the House for Mrs May’s deal as it stands, and the total failure of her appeal to Brussels for better terms, the options for the UK are rapidly narrowing to just two: to leave the EU on 29 March next year with no deal, or to abandon the process and stay in the Union.