Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

The DUP are not happy with Theresa May over border plan

DUP politician Sammy Wilson Image Mr Wilson said the PM had gone back on 'the promises she made'
Ellis Copeland | 11 November, 2018, 05:58

Less than five months before Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, negotiators are still haggling over a backup plan for the land border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland should they fail to clinch a deal.

In the five-page letter to Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, and Nigel Dodds, her deputy, Mrs May said the European Union is still pushing for the "backstop to the backstop" but insists that she would never allow a divide between Ulster and Great Britain to "come into force".

At the British-Irish Council summit in the Isle of Man, Mr Lidington said: "The Prime Minister has always been very clear we won't accept something that involves carving out Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom".

"We are still in negotiations, and on that basis we don't know when and if this will conclude", a spokesman said, adding that a much-rumoured Cabinet meeting to allow ministers to sign off the deal had not been scheduled.

Ever since her botched gamble on a snap election in 2017 lost her party its majority in parliament, May has relied on the DUP to govern. "From her letter, it appears the PM is wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea with NI in the EU SM regulatory regime".

But David Lidington, Mrs May's de facto deputy prime minister, said he hoped that once a deal was on the table MPs would rally behind it.

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In the leaked letter, the prime minister also told the DUP she "would not accept being kept in a backstop arrangement indefinitely", while it would be "totally unacceptable" for a time limit to the UK-wide backstop arrangement to then simply result in the Northern Ireland-only solution being adopted.

The DUP MP Sammy Wilson heaped further pressure on the government, telling the BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the letter was sent to the party but was put into the public domain by Downing Street.

But DUP leaders said on Friday that Ms. Any version of the backstop would apply unless and until a wider UK-EU deal on the future relationship solved the issue of how to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

"She has sent us where she believes she is now at, and remember this is before she goes to Brussels to negotiate with them on what they believe is possible, but now, as it stands, we could not support her proposals".

A UK-wide customs deal would maintain quota-free and tariff-free access to European markets for the British fishing industry and in return the EU wants to keep continued access to United Kingdom waters for its trawlers, the newspaper said.

"A successful outcome is not guaranteed but I think it is possible in the next couple of weeks", Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

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