British PM Theresa May draws fury of Northern Irish allies over Brexit

British PM Theresa May draws fury of Northern Irish allies over Brexit

British PM Theresa May draws fury of Northern Irish allies over Brexit

This so-called "backstop to the backstop" would see Northern Ireland become wedded to the EU single market and customs union should London and Brussels fail to strike a permanent trade deal.

And in a further blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, the DUP - who she relies upon to prop up her minority government - today accused her of "total betrayal" over her plans for the Irish border.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the Prime Minister appeared "wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea" despite Downing Street's repeated assurances to the contrary.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the issue of British Prime Minister Theresa May writing to the DUP was an internal United Kingdom matter, but said there was a real deep feeling of uncertainty among communities with regard to the border.

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"The PM knows the consequences, she now needs to reconsider", DUP lawmaker Sammy Wilson said.

The leak of the letter is seen by some observers, as well as the DUP, as part of a laying of the ground by May for a showdown with the party over checks in British ports or factories in Northern Ireland or Britain.

The scope of any alignment with Brussels' rules would be limited to what is "strictly necessary" to avoid a hard border.

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. "For us it is a violation of the promise that was given that will be done, that we were cut off from the rest of the United Kingdom".

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He said the two sides were discussing how to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"The fact is that Theresa May signed up to the Irish backstop in December and that remains the bottom line in order to prevent a hard border and safeguard our political and economic stability now and for the future", he said.

Sparking fervent denials from Downing Street, the European Council President told Channel 4 News on Thursday there could be a breakthrough in negotiations in as little as "maybe five, maybe six, maybe seven days".

"I must caution that there is high level of uncertainty when you are making any projections in relation to Brexit", he said.

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Toaiseach Leo Varadkar told a meeting of British and Irish officials on the Isle of Man that while negotiations were still at a "sensitive point", he was hopeful an agreement could be struck in the coming weeks.

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