Northern Ireland

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The path to Brexit has once again been blocked, seemingly on the issue of the Irish border and the implications for the peace process launched by the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). The GFA, while ending the violence of the Troubles, has not been a complete success. Political and social relations between the unionist and nationalist communities remain tense and there has been little sign of the community divisions fading away. The power-sharing institutions have been suspended for nearly two years in the absence of agreement.
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As the DUP position shifts and Threatens Theresa May's working majority, Jonathan Evershed assesses the scope and limits of Unionist resistance to the Brexit backstop. 
 
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The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill, which arrives in the House of Lords today, is set to be enacted by way of fast-track legislative procedure this week. The Bill intends to facilitate the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland while providing for the exercise of executive functions by civil servants in the interim. In effect, the Bill suspends the statutory duty on the Secretary of State to call a Northern Ireland Assembly election.

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Given that there are many policy differences between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK, asks Jonathan Evershed, why has customs policy been singled out as a red line by Unionists? 
 
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