Sat, 23 September 2023

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DUP threaten to pull support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal amid Irish border row

Liz Bates

2 min read

DUP leaders have warned Theresa May that they will vote down any Brexit deal that would lead to a customs border in the Irish Sea.

The party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds called for clarity on post-Brexit trading arrangements and said the party would not accept a plan that would see Northern Ireland take on separate customs rules to the rest of the UK.

Speaking after a fringe event at the Conservative party’s annual conference in Birmingham, he told the Guardian: “We will vote against it. We will vote for our red lines.”

The warning will come as a blow to the Prime Minister who relies on the DUP’s backing in the Commons on crunch votes to get her minority government over the line.  

Mr Dodds added: “The deal on the future relationship will have to be crystal clear and not a fudge, we won’t settle for any vague outline of a future relationship in exchange for a backstop that is simply not going to happen.”

Both the UK Government and EU leaders have pledged to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but have yet to agree on how that will be achieved long-term.

The standoff has led to speculation that Northern Ireland may have to align its customs rules with the Republic, creating a border in the Irish Sea.  

DUP leader Arlene Foster was also adamant on the party’s position, telling The Sun: “No additional regulations – because that would make us different from the rest of the UK.”

She added: "We are not going to allow the United Kingdom to be broken up by Brussels or by anybody else.

“Barnier cannot annexe off part of the United Kingdom so he can say that that’s the way forward... We are not bluffing on this issue."

This comes after Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson lashed out at the Chancellor Philip Hammond after he warned that a no-deal Brexit would create a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

He told PoliticsHome: “Philip Hammond is a Remainer and he is just throwing every obstacle in the way of getting a clean Brexit."

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Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum

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