DUP insists claims it will water down its Brexit red lines are 'nonsense'

Posted On: 
13th September 2019

The DUP has angrily denied claims that it could water down its Brexit red lines in a bid to agree a deal with Brussels.

Nigel Dodds and Arlene Foster at Downing Street earlier this month
PA Images

According to The Times, the party was willing to accept some European rules applying to Northern Ireland and not the rest of the UK as a way of replacing the controversial backstop.

That would mark a major U-turn for the party - whose 10 MPs propped up Theresa May's government - which has consistently said there must be no divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

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Speculation has been growing that Boris Johnson is willing to accept a Northern Ireland-only backstop as he tries to strike a new Brexit deal before the 31 October deadline.

But DUP leader Arlene Foster was quick to reject the claims and insisted that the UK must leave the European Union "as one nation".

Sammy Wilson, the DUP's Brexit spokesman, told Sky News: “We are still totally opposed to any form of a Northern Ireland-only backstop and a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain which is our main market and we’re certainly not going to allow ourselves to be put in a situation where the part of the United Kingdom with which we belong would have to be regarded as a third country when it comes to trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”

The East Antrim MP said the party was open to north-south measures that did not disrupt trade with Great Britain, but could not allow the EU to be given “carte blanche”.

The interventions came as Downing Street confirmed that Boris Johnson will meet with Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg on Monday, in an effort to revive talks ahead of the October deadline.