Northern Irish Kingmakers Tell PM May: Don't Betray the UK

Liam Fox

DUP LEADER ARLENE Foster has said she will not support British Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to have a Northern Ireland specific backstop.

Speaking at the British-Irish Council summit on the Isle of Man, Mr Varadkar said he was hopeful a Brexit deal could be done by the end of the year but it would not amount to a "clean break" as talks would have to continue.

When commenting on the prime minister's letter, he said that it showed that the United Kingdom was not delivering on its promises to Northern Ireland and that a range of concerns had emerged.

However, in a post on Twitter, Ms Foster wrote: "The PM's letter raises alarm bells for those who value the integrity of our precious union and for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole UK".

May's letter to the DUP said that she "could not accept there being any circumstances or conditions" for the Northern Ireland-only backstop coming into effect.

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told Sky News that May was guilty of "total betrayal".

In it, Ms. May reportedly tried to assure her allies that she would never allow a Brexit deal proposal offered by Brussels to "come into force".

The European Union's fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the United Kingdom would effectively keep Northern Ireland aligned with Brussels' customs union and single market.

The prime minister's letter has provoked the ire of DUP leader, Arlene Foster, claiming May's words have set off "alarm bells" for her party on the issues of the customs union and single market.

May will meet Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel this morning before heading to France where she will meet President Emmanuel Macron, who is one of EU's the most hardline leaders when it comes to Brexit.

"The government will not agree anything that brings about a hard border on the island of Ireland".

"I think that if we get the withdrawal agreement, and the accompanying political declaration, which I hope that we can secure in the weeks to come, that will create a new dynamic", Lidington said.

"And we'll do our best to work through it and make sure we get the best outcome for our citizens".

One of the scenarios being discussed is Britain remaining in a customs agreement with the European Union for a limited period even after the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020, which would avoid the introduction of new border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, Walker said.

A senior British government source said that reports in the European media that a deal could come in the next few days should be taken "with a very large pinch of salt".

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