May risks Brexit row with DUP allies over ‘Irish Sea border’

Source: www.aol.com --- Thursday, November 08, 2018
Theresa May faced a fresh Brexit headache as her plans risked a rift with her Democratic Unionist Party allies. DUP leader Arlene Foster said the Prime Minister appeared “wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea” despite Downing Street’s assurances to the contrary. The European Union’s fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the UK would effectively keep Northern Ireland aligned with Brussels’s customs union and single market. A leaked letter from the Prime Minister to Mrs Foster and her deputy Nigel Dodds set out Mrs May’s approach. She wants a “backstop” measure which would create a temporary “joint customs territory” with the EU for the whole of the UK. But Brussels appears set to insist on a Northern Ireland-only “backstop to the backstop” in case negotiations on a wider UK approach break down. In the letter, obtained by The Times, Mrs May said: “I am clear that I could not accept there being any circumstances or conditions in which that ‘backstop to the backstop’, which would break up the UK customs territory, could come in to force.” But the DUP has interpreted the wording of her letter to mean that the measure will be contained in the Brexit divorce deal despite Mrs May’s insistence it will never come into effect. Theresa May depends on the votes of the 10 MPs from Arlene Foster’s Democratic Unionist Party (Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA) Mrs Foster said: “The Prime Minister’s letter raises ala ...

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