Could a deal between the EU and the UK government to amend the Northern Ireland Protocol be imminent?
The pressure for an agreement is obvious.
Northern Ireland has been without a functioning government since elections last May.
That’s because the Democratic Unionist Party is refusing to take part in power-sharing until there’s a deal to reform the post Brexit trade agreement.
And with the DUP insisting that the checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are too expensive and undermine access to the UK internal market, it’s unlikely that the party will agree with Sinn Féin to get a government up and running before the deadline.
At midnight tonight, in theory, the Northern Ireland Secretary must call a new Stormont election. In practice, he is likely to ask Parliament to delay a vote yet again. And meanwhile the people of Northern Ireland must go on living in a parliamentary limbo.