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I echo the implication of the question from the noble Lord, Lord Bridges. Will the Minister confirm that no deal in respect of the Irish border will require direct rule, so that the necessary civil contingency arrangements can be put in place? There is no question that that is so, and I would be grateful if he confirmed it. Can the Minister also explain why he said one thing to your Lordships—it was also said by the Minister in the other place—on the question of a deal, while a No. 10 source is quoted in the Guardian online, just an hour ago, as my noble friend Lady Hayter indicated, following conversations with Chancellor Merkel and other leaders, including in Dublin, that a deal looks,
“essentially impossible, not just now but ever”?