Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

May, DUP at odds over Brexit

DUP politician Sammy Wilson Image Mr Wilson said the PM had gone back on 'the promises she made'
Patty Aguilar | 10 November, 2018, 22:20

The Taoiseach said: "A successful outcome is not guaranteed but I think it is possible in the next couple of weeks".

"We will not support arrangements that leave Northern Ireland separated from the rest of the United Kingdom and tied to the European Union's customs or regulatory regimes", Foster said in a letter to May which was published on November 9.

Ms Foster said: "The prime minister's letter raises alarm bells for those who value the integrity of our precious union and for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole of the UK".

Downing Street reiterated the PM's own commitment to avoiding a hard border.

Mrs May's letter claimed the EU is demanding a "backstop to the backstop", which would keep Northern Ireland tied to the customs union to prevent a hard border with the Irish Republic should the United Kingdom as a whole pull out of the initial backstop without a deal.

"The government will not agree anything that brings about a hard border on the island of Ireland".

Theresa May will dismiss claims that she has capitulated on the "backstop to the backstop" but it seems clear, based on the contents of her five-page letter to the Democratic Unionist Party, revealed yesterday by The Times, that she is willing to concede on pretty much all the European Union has asked for.

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.

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But she acknowledged that the "unique circumstances" of Northern Ireland "could require specific alignment solutions in some scenarios" on regulations.

Sammy Wilson, the representative of the party for Brexit, said: "From this letter it is clear that the government has decided on a plan reverse for Northern Ireland".

The UK and the European Union both want to avoid a "hard border" - physical checks or infrastructure between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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.

The First Minister was speaking following a meeting of the British-Irish Council on the Isle of Man, which was also attended by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and Ireland's Leo Varadkar.

"I hope and I believe that we can secure that majority in Parliament for the agreement".

"Even when all of that is done, then we begin the talks on the future relationship", he added.

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

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