Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Economy | By

UK Govt brushes off Brexit threat by N. Irish allies

UK Govt brushes off Brexit threat by N. Irish allies

Following three days of talks with key figures in Brussels, DUP leader Arlene Foster said Mrs May could not in "good conscience" accept the proposals now on the table from the European Union.

Her intervention came as Mrs May met key members of her cabinet in Downing Street to brief them on the progress in the Brexit negotiations.

The Prime Minister was reported to have played down the prospects of a breakthrough at next week's EU summit in Brussels, billed as the "moment of truth" by European Council president Donald Tusk.

However, a small Northern Irish party which supports May's minority government in the Westminster parliament vehemently opposes any checks between the province and the rest of Britain.

Numerous problems are now being solved on a step by step basis "but there are, of course" several big issues which we really need to get to grips with, ' the prime minister said.

Those present included Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, and Michael Gove, the environment secretary.

A DUP MP has told Sky News the party is not afraid of potentially triggering a general election by voting against the Budget.

Bear in mind that yesterday her party was threatening to go further and vote against the budget later this month, if its concerns about the imminent Brexit deal are not met.

A Brexit deal is "within reach" next week, European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday (Oct 10), even as he rammed home his insistence that Britain must accept possible checks on trade between its mainland and Northern Ireland.

Ahead of the critical European summit next week, some cabinet members want any backstop arrangements - which could place all of the United Kingdom in a customs union after the end of the Brexit transition period in 2020 - to be clearly time-limited.

The British government and leading politicians in Northern Ireland insist they will not agree to a withdrawal treaty that foresees the possibility of Northern Ireland being kept inside the EU's economic area while the British mainland is not.

Negotiations between the two sides have focused on the proposals for a so-called "backstop" to ensure that there is no return to a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Britain has left the bloc.

The plan would keep the whole of the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU until a free trade deal was reached.

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