Theresa May’s Brexit campaign is under yet further attack this week as the DUP ( the party with which the Conservative party forms a coalition government) has warned that it will not support May if she attempts to pass a deal which includes customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain.
Nigel Dodds, who is the DUP’s leader in the House of Commons, said that any deal May brings back from Brussels which enforces a border in the Irish sea will be turned down by the DUP saying they will “vote for our red lines.”
The issue of how the Irish border will be treated post-Brexit has been the most contentious issue of the negotiations, and a solution is still not in sight.
DUP To Block Brexit Plan
Speaking at the Tory party conference in Birmingham this week Dodds said: “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.” While Dodds clarified that the DUP does not intend to abandon its position in government it said it would not see Northern Ireland left “semi-detached” from the UK.
“We are not bluffing”
Speaking separately, the DUP Arlene Foster told reporters “Theresa May understands very well that we are not bluffing on this issue … there is far too much at stake for us as unionists, but also economically for Northern Ireland.”
However, the EU is equally as adamant in its demands with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council saying “When it comes to the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, we are sticking to the point of view that we have expressed so many times: Ireland first.”
May Working on New Solution
Both the UK and the EU agree the need for a “backstop” solution to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in a post-Brexit world though the DUP is adamant this cannot mean that Northern Ireland is lumped in with the Republic and separated, legally, in trade terms from the UK.
May agrees that such an outcome would not be appropriate and instead plans to push for a new proposal which would allow the whole of the UK to remain in a temporary customs arrangement while a permanent solution is delivered.