Rishi Sunak's Northern Ireland deal is a fudge - but it's working so far

The most important thing about Rishi Sunak's Northern Ireland deal is that it's working.

Barring some unforeseen problem, the Stormont Assembly will sit once more, for the first time in two years, next week.

That's the only conclusion after its first outing in the Commons, as well as the various press conferences on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Indeed, for all the handwringing and apparent topsy-turvy choreography, the 23-point play called "Safeguarding the Union" has survived contact with the EU, Brexiteers and the DUP - three groups which all too often look impossible to satisfy simultaneously.

It will pass any Commons test pretty easily - albeit against the backdrop of noticeably empty green benches - with Labour swinging energetically behind the government's proposals.

Yes there were some noises off from Brexiteers and those who worry about the breakup of the United Kingdom.

But at time of typing there's a chance that even the European Research Group doesn't try and block it.

Ultimately Mr Sunak has done what Northern Ireland politics always requires of prime ministers - to agree to a fudge.

He has been unable to agree everything hardline DUP-ers would have wanted - Northern Ireland still has a special status, allowing it access to the single market of the Republic without a border.

The document appears to promise the end of the "automatic pipeline of EU law" being imposed in Northern Ireland, although when examined more closely it is still likely to mean most new EU laws are imposed on just one of the four nations.

Brexiteers worry the additional assessments done on the impact on internal market of all big future legislation will discourage future governments from diverging away from the EU.

However it is enough of a fudge for the EU to turn a blind eye to checks they would have insisted on a year ago, while getting the leadership and a majority of the DUP on board.

This is no small challenge, and Mr Sunak will be delighted. He is bound to visit to celebrate in the coming days.

The scale of the change is only about to hit people's consciousness, however.

The arrival of another nationalist leader, who wants to see the breakup of the United Kingdom, into the post of first minister will unnerve some.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris went out of his way to welcome Michelle O'Neill to her legitimately elected position.

It will be fascinating to watch how the rest of the political system reacts to her and Sinn Fein in the coming months and years.