There is “no way” the DUP will support the Prime Minister’s proposed Brexit deal, a leading figure in the party that keeps the government in power has said.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson said he was “more alarmed” than ever over the deal and the ‘backstop’ provision for the Irish border, which would keep the province under a host of EU regulations if no trade deal is agreed between London and Brussels by the end of the post-Brexit transition period.
The comments follow a statement by the DUP’s leader at Westminster rebuffing Downing Streets efforts to win the Unionists over.
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Nigel Dodds said on Thursday that his party’s “principled objections” to the backstop remain, with no sign of any further concessions from the EU side.
Speaking to the BBC on Friday, Mr Wilson said: “It’s not just because of the regulations which Northern Ireland would be subject to with the backstop, but also the fact we would have to treat the rest of the United Kingdom as a third country, we would not participate in any trade deals which the United Kingdom may enter into in the future and we would find that there would be a border down the Irish Sea which would impede trade with our biggest trading partner, namely GB.”
Mr Wilson claimed the backstop was “a con trick all along”, adding that his party was “totally relaxed” about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit if parliament cannot agree on any negotiated solution.
“If anyone should be worried about tariffs on beef and sheep it should be the Irish,” the DUP MP said.
“The UK are net importers of food… It would be farmers in the EU who would find selves cut off from the main market in GB.
“They should be more worried about this deal because this deal is going to keep them tied to EU regulations, it’s going to cut them off from the GB market, where we send 60% of our exports, and it’s going to stop us participating in UK trade deals in the future.
Almost 1,000 police officers from England and Scotland are being trained to help patrol the border in the event of a no-deal exit, it has been reported.
In November, Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone said his force was on standby to respond to a request for mutual aid from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable called on the government to protect security in Northern Ireland by ending the “brinksmanship” over a no-deal exit from the EU.
“The Brexiters' claims that the security of Northern Ireland is not at risk as a result of Brexit have been further dismantled by these reports,” Mr Cable said.
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“In the interest of public safety the Government must take no deal off the table.
"The Conservative Government's policy has been driven by the DUP who do not represent the majority in Northern Ireland who voted to remain.
“The Prime Minister must act responsibly, end this brinkmanship, and give the people the chance to get out of this mess once and for all with a people's vote."