Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

DUP will not support May's Irish Sea border backstop plan - Arlene Foster

DUP will not support May's Irish Sea border backstop plan - Arlene Foster

Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, poses for a photograph with Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Leader Arlene Foster, Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, and Chief Whip Jeffrey Donaldson, outside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain June 26, 2017.

"It appears the prime minister is wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea with Northern Ireland in the European Union single market regulatory regime", Foster, who leads the DUP's 10 MPs in Westminster, added.

The scope of any alignment with Brussels' rules would be limited to what is "strictly necessary" to avoid a hard border.

The leak of the letter is seen by some observers, as well as the DUP, as part of a laying of the ground by May for a showdown with the party over checks in British ports or factories in Northern Ireland or Britain.

A leaked letter from Ms May to the DUP says the British prime minister wants a "backstop" measure which would create a temporary "joint customs territory" with the European Union for the whole of the UK.

May's letter to the DUP said that she "could not accept there being any circumstances or conditions" for the Northern Ireland-only backstop coming into effect.

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said "we want to trust the Prime Minister" but "you have to judge any promise by what is actually delivered in an agreement".

In the letter, Theresa May said she would not allow an Irish border backstop that separated Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom to ever come into force.

Some eurosceptics in her Conservative Party are already threatening to vote against the deal because it could lock Britain into a long-term customs arrangement with the EU.

At issue is the vexing problem of how to avoid border checks between British Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit enters into force on March 29.

It has been angered by a letter in which May said EU negotiators were still pushing for Northern Ireland to remain in the single market and customs union if talks collapse.

Mr Varadkar also said: "I've no specific concerns about the communications that are happening between Prime Minister May and the DUP".

He was speaking at a meeting of the British Irish Council on the Isle of Man.

He said a UK-EU deal would involve "compromises, give and take on all sides" but when faced with "product on the table" in the form of an agreement backed by all 28 governments there could be a shift in attitude at Westminster.

"And we'll do our best to work through it and make sure we get the best outcome for our citizens".

Mr Varadkar warned, however, that nothing was guaranteed, adding that any Brexit deal was unlikely to ensure a "clean break".

"Brexit is going to go on for a very long period of time".

They said Ms. May had earlier promised them that it never would.

"That is also equally important", said Ms Bradley.

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