Boris Johnson announces Brexit deal done despite DUP objections to new agreement
A Brexit deal has been done despite the DUP insisting they are not ready to back the new-look agreement.
In a dramatic development, Boris Johnson announced that he had secured "a great new deal that takes back control" shortly before the start of a crunch EU summit.
However, DUP sources insisted that their concerns about the deal remain - specifically on the issues of customs, consent and VAT.
Unless they sign up to the deal, the Prime Minister will struggle to secure the House of Commons's support for the deal.
Mr Johnson - who is travelling to Brussels for the two-day European Council - announced the breakthrough on Twitter.
He said: "We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control — now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment."
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: "Where there is a will, there is a #deal - we have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that #EUCO endorses this deal."
But the DUP insisted they were still standing by the statement issued by Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds on Thursday morning.
They said: "As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues, and there is a lack of clarity on VAT.
"We will continue to work with the Government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom."
Under the terms of the proposed deal, Northern Ireland would remain in the UK's customs territory, but would still follow EU rules on tariffs and quotas in order to avoid a hard border with Ireland.
That would mean the implementation of a customs border in the Irish Sea - something Mr Johnson has previously ruled out and which the DUP had said they would never accept.
The Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont would also have to give its consent to the new arrangements every four years.
However, differences remain on how that mechanism should apply, with the DUP fearing that they would be outnumbered by nationalist parties.
In another major concession, the Prime Minister has agreed to a "level playing field" with the EU, meaning the UK will agree to align itself with the bloc's standards on the environment, workers’ rights and tax.