UK Govt brushes off Brexit threat by N. Irish allies

Muriel Colon
October 12, 2018

It came as Mrs May's "inner cabinet" was briefed last night on plans for a no-deal Brexit amid reports that progress ahead of a crucial European Union summit next week had been slower than hoped.

Following three days of talks with key figures in Brussels, DUP leader Arlene Foster said the United Kingdom prime minister could not in "good conscience" accept the proposals now on the table from the EU.

Downing Street insisted that defeat on the budget would not amount to a vote of no confidence in the Government under the terms of the legislation which provides for fixed-term, five-year parliaments.

Among those due to attend today's War Cabinet are: the Prime Minister's effective deputy David Lidington; Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary; Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary; Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary; Greg Clark, the Business Secretary; Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, and Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary. If I was her, I would say: 'Tell me what your solution is.' And I'll suspect they'll say to her: 'No, you go work out the solution, ' which is a little unreasonable really.

Mrs Foster said the Prime Minister, as a unionist, could not "in good conscience" recommend a deal which places a trade barrier on United Kingdom businesses moving goods from one part of the UK to another.

Earlier on Thursday, May told Northern Ireland journalists that Irish border talks would likely continue until November.

London hopes to resolve the issue with a future trade deal, but agrees there should be a "backstop" arrangement to avoid physical frontier checks until that deal is done.

The DUP is asking her to do something she...

The news comes after the Democratic Unionist Party threatened to vote against the Budget, and potentially bring down the Government, in opposition to a backstop plan that would treat Northern Ireland differently to the rest of Great Britain.

On Wednesday DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson warned the Prime Minister that his party would pull support and collapse her government if Northern Ireland was left "languishing in the stifling embrace of the EU" after Brexit.

Labour demands that Britain retain "the exact same" perks it now has within the EU's customs union and single market - something May's so-called Chequers plan does not meet and which the EU rules out since London chose to leave both.

While May is reportedly ready to compromise on regulatory checks between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, she has refused the idea of a customs border in the Irish Sea.

In a statement, Ms Foster, whose party props up the government at Westminster, said the European Union plan would effectively mean imposing a trade barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Mrs May is to brief key ministers on negotiations with the European Union later.

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