Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

European Union says there has been ‘no breakthrough’ in Brexit talks

European Union says there has been ‘no breakthrough’ in Brexit talks

However, a small Northern Irish party which supports May's minority government in the Westminster parliament vehemently opposes any checks between the province and the rest of Britain.

A Brexit deal is "within reach" next week, European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday (Oct 10), even as he rammed home his insistence that Britain must accept possible checks on trade between its mainland and Northern Ireland.

She added that Northern Ireland was not being offered the "best of both worlds".

He suggested all 10 DUP MPs could vote down this month's budget to "pull the government back into keeping its promises".

Mrs May is expected to chair a meeting of her most trusted Cabinet members on Thursday in order to finalise her backstop plans before sending them to Brussels.

Democratic Unionist Party Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told Ireland's RTE radio on Thursday the party's 10 members of parliament would vote against the United Kingdom budget and would consider voting no-confidence in May if the British government crosses the DUP's red lines in Brexit talks.

Theresa May has briefed senior ministers on the status of the Brexit negotiations as concerns grow in some quarters of her cabinet and party that she is prepared to agree an indefinite customs backstop to ensure an open border in Ireland. It must be one of the worrying questions for Downing Street.

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The issue of the Irish border, the major sticking point, was "close to being settled", it said.

The de-facto Deputy Prime Minister was pressed on the DUP's support when he appeared on ITV's Peston on Wednesday night.

The plan would also involve keeping Northern Ireland in the single market to help maintain frictionless trade across the border with the Republic while mainland Britain would be outwith the single market.

Instead she proposed Britain as a whole stay temporarily aligned with the EU's customs union until a wider trade deal is agreed.

Former Conservative leader and Brexit supporter Iain Duncan Smith warned the prime minister she should "listen very carefully" to the DUP, which he said echoed many Tory concerns.

"Without an end date, we could be in the customs union forever".

Speaking to Sky News in his constituency of Larne on Northern Ireland's east coast, Mr Wilson said that the DUP were not going to be "bullied" or "bribed" into supporting a deal that could see Northern Ireland effectively kept in the single market or customs union.

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