WITH the asylum system in chaos, the NHS falling apart and the cost of living crisis still hurting, voters are entitled to ask: why the hell is the PM banging on about Brexit again?
Rishi Sunak’s argument is that the Northern Ireland protocol — while of little interest to most — needs fixing once and for all.
It’s causing real problems for ordinary folk there, who often can’t buy British sausages in supermarkets, and is poisoning relations with the EU.
Others will say that he must be mad to reopen Tory wounds on Brexit, and put his own head on the block, when there are so many other issues he needs to sort out.
Rishi’s made his choice now and tomorrow we will find out how his dice are rolling on an almighty political gamble.
We don’t have all the details but there is plenty to welcome in his renegotiated protocol.
Most checks on goods from Britain to Northern Ireland will be lifted.
Westminster — not Brussels — will set VAT and rules on State aid.
Stormont will have at least some kind of say over the application of future EU edicts.
But it’s also true the deeply political European Court of Justice will still be able to rule over Northern Ireland.
And businesses will have to follow EU regulations on product standards — even if exporting them to Great Britain.
Such is the febrile state of the Tory party, it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.
If the Unionist DUP swallows the deal then Brexiteers in the Cabinet — and Boris Johnson — may well be forced into line.
But if the DUP rips it up and refuses power-sharing, all bets are off and many will ask Rishi: what was the point?
It needs remembering, though, that the PM inherited a bad deal.
He has succeeded in making it better at least.
If the Tories now decide to rip themselves apart over this, rather than fix migration, the NHS and the economy, they should expect the voters’ verdict to be harsh.
Stop the boats
ANOTHER senseless migrant boat tragedy, at least 58 lives lost — 12 of them children.
The next time a horribly overloaded boat sinks it could well be in the Channel.
Vile people smugglers behind the crossings don’t care who the passengers are, where they come from or where they’re heading.
The only humane way to stop such criminal inhumanity is to cut off the illegal routes to Britain in the first place.
Stop the boats, stop the deaths