Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Brexit: DUP accuses May of breaking promises on Irish border

Brexit: DUP accuses May of breaking promises on Irish border

Arlene Foster says it has "raised alarm bells" as Mrs May appears "wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea".

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

DUP leader Foster said in a letter to May that any backstop could not leave Northern Ireland aligned to specific sectoral European Union market regulations.

"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".

In it, Mrs May writes that she could not accept any circumstances in which a proposal that would break up the United Kingdom customs territory "could come in to force".

DUP Leader Arlene Foster at Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on November 2, 2018.

She spoke out after "frank" exchanges with Cabinet Office minister David Lidington on the differences between the Scottish and United Kingdom governments over their approach to exiting the European Union (EU).

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme "we want to trust the Prime Minister" but "you have to judge any promise by what is actually delivered in an agreement".

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

With less than five months to go until Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29, both sides remain at odds over how to avoid a hard border in Ireland and are yet to agree a backup plan for the Irish border should a no-deal Brexit occur.

May depends on the 10 DUP MP votes for a majority in Westminster and will likely need them for any vote on a deal she strikes with Brussels.

The UK Government Minister for the Department for Exiting the EU - Robin Walker - was at today's meeting.

She added: "Around the British and Irish Council table I detect nothing but strong desire to ensure that whatever happens in Brexit, we are all working to make sure that these relationships continue to be as strong as they are".

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he still believes a Brexit deal can be done in the coming weeks but warned that "lots of things can go wrong".

"And I think if we do that, if we listen to the voice of Northern Ireland as a whole that will help us to come to an agreement".

"The fact that Brexit is happening makes that hard to replicate, but our objective as an Irish Government is to do that to the extent that we can, in order to allow people to travel freely as they have done for so long now, but also to allow trade to function as it does now".

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