DUP warns it will block Brexit deal that separates Northern Ireland from the UK
DUP leader Arlene Foster warns EU chief Michel Barnier that her party could block a Brexit deal that separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK
Theresa May and Arlene Foster - Dominic Lipinski/PA
DUP leader Arlene Foster has warned that her party will block any Brexit deal that divides Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
After a meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Foster dismissed the bloc’s proposal for a trade deal that would effectively establish a customs border in the Irish Sea.
The possible solution was set out in a document last week which sought to transform December’s Brexit agreement into legal text and contained plans designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
But speaking after the meeting, Foster said: “We will not countenance any proposal which would create a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
“We stressed again the need to respect the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and the economic integrity of the UK single market.”
The Northern Irish party holds the balance of power in the Commons after the Conservatives failed to win a majority in last year’s general election.
Foster added: "We will continue to use our influence in Westminster, there’s no doubt about that”.
Elsewhere, an EU working paper revealed by the Guardian today states that "creating a regulatory regime in Northern Ireland, which might be different from the rest of the UK does not undermine UK integrity or sovereignty”.
Figures showing the first rise in homelessness for almost a decade should start alarm bells ringing in St Andrew's House
Committee recommends suspension for SNP MSP following report into sexual harassment allegations
EU Withdrawal bill passed by MPs after Dominic Grieve and other Tory rebels accept compromise over final say
Parliamentary sketch: A debate on the Islands Bill brings out the best in the chamber