Sun, 14 July 2024

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
How clean energy will help deliver UK economic growth Partner content
Press releases

DUP warns of risk to Tory deal amid Brexit row over Northern Ireland

2 min read

The DUP has warned Theresa May it could end its crucial support for her Government if Northern Ireland is treated separately to the rest of the UK on Brexit.

In a stark warning to the Prime Minister, top MP Sammy Wilson said forcing the province into a special status to “placate” Dublin could jeopardise the confidence and supply arrangement.

His comments come after a report in The Times said the UK and Brussels are close to reaching a deal which would involve devolving powers to Stormont to allow them to "avoid regulatory divergence" with the Irish Republic in key areas such as agriculture and energy.

Progress has been complicated by the fact there is still no functioning executive in Belfast, but an EU source told the paper a transition deal would be "ready in principle" by January. 

The DUP has already warned it will not stand for any Brexit arrangement that could leave it inside EU institutions like the customs union while the rest of the UK quits them.

DUP Brexit spokesman Mr Wilson added today: "If there is any hint that in order to placate Dublin and the EU they're prepared to have Northern Ireland treated differently than the rest of the UK, then they [the Tories] can't rely on our vote."

He added: "They have to recognise that if this is about treating Northern Ireland differently, or leaving us half in the EU, dragging along behind regulations which change in Dublin, it's not on."

Mr Wilson told the broadcaster his party would be seeking clarification from No 10 on the accuracy of the report in the Times. 

Meanwhile, Sky News reported a DUP source saying any deal which leaves Northern Ireland more connected to the bloc than the mainland would be “deeply destabilising to the confidence and supply agreement”.

The issue of the Irish border remains the major sticking point on whether Brexit talks can move onto trade at the next European Council summit on 14 December.

Earlier this month, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he would be willing to veto trade talks between the EU and Britain unless he gets written guarantees there will be no return to a hard border in Ireland.

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Nicholas Mairs - Public sector workers to get 5% pay rise from April if Labour wins election

Partner content
Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

Find out more