DUP may vote against budget if red lines are breached

10 October, 2018, 20:14 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Downing Street plays down idea of Brexit agreement being reached next week

The clash comes as DUP leader Arlene Foster told European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels there was no room for compromise despite reports of Theresa May's potential backstop concessions on the future of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"Our challenge is to make sure that these procedures are as easy as possible and not burdensome, particularly for small and medium business", he said in his speech in the European Parliament, which ended in a standing ovation.

But Foster refused to consider such a compromise on Tuesday, saying: "What we said to Barnier is checks of themselves are symptomatic of something different, so we only need checks if Northern Ireland is following a different regulatory regime to the rest of the UK".

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir said the comments signalled a "bizarre new low" for the DUP over Brexit, adding: "Never mind the catastrophic impact on our economy and communities across Ireland, none of that matters to the DUP if there's going to be checks on lasagne crossing the Irish Sea".

In parliament, her deputy Nigel Dodds rammed the point home, warning Raab not to "repeat that mistake" from December - when the DUP nearly pulled the rug out from an interim accord negotiated by May by scuppering a proposal that would have seen regulatory alignment between the European Union and the province.

Mr Baker told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was expecting Tory Whips to go to work on the rebels - but that around 40 of them would stand firm against her.

She has come under growing pressure from Brexit-backing Tories to drop the plan agreed by the Cabinet at her country residence in July and instead seek a Canada-style free trade deal.

"This is big grown-up serious stuff and the only way to avoid that hard border is the single market and the customs union".

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That could destroy relations between Mrs May and the DUP - which has warned it has a "blood red" line on the issue.

But the DUP could abandon this deal if Brexit means new barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, Newsnight's Nick Watt said.

The EU's top civil servant Martin Selmayr is said to have led discussion of a document on the consequences of no-deal - which the bloc has apparently decided not to publish for fear of derailing negotiations.

"We are working hard for the Brexit negotiations to succeed". But since we can't guarantee the result right now, we have to prepare for all possible outcomes, ' one diplomat said.

'The EU27 need to be ready on day one to address issues like citizen's rights, transport or customs coherently'.

"That's why the backstop proposed by Barnier is unacceptable to us".

Professor Ailsa Henderson from the University of Edinburgh said the data suggested that, in the pursuit of Brexit, Leave supporters across the United Kingdom would be relaxed about a fundamental transformation of the union.

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