Northern Irish Kingmakers Tell Theresa May: Don’t Betray the United Kingdom

PA Wire  PA Images               European Council President Donald Tusk has claimed a Brexit deal could be made in a week

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.

According to The Times, the DUP have taken Mrs May's words to mean a Northern Ireland-only backstop arrangement will still be included in the legal text of the UK's divorce deal with the European Union, despite her assurance she will not allow it to "come into force".

The EU has insisted on a Northern Ireland-only "backstop to the backstop" in case negotiations on a wider United Kingdom approach break down.

But she needs the DUP support at home once the deal - if any - comes up for approval in parliament.

However he was clear that the DUP weren't the only voices that should be listened to in Northern Ireland.

The five page letter was sent three days ago - in response to a letter from the DUP outlining the party's expectations for a Brexit deal.

Ms Foster said the British government appeared "wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea" despite Downing Street's assurances to the contrary.

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In response to the emergence of the letter, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister's letter sets out her commitment, which she has been absolutely clear about on any number of occasions, to never accepting any circumstances in which the United Kingdom is divided into two customs territories".

"She has sent us where she believes she is now at, and remember this is before she goes to Brussels to negotiate with them on what they believe is possible, but now, as it stands, we could not support her proposals".

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

But she told the DUP that the European Union is still pushing for a so-called "backstop to the backstop" which would keep the province in regulatory alignment with the Republic of Ireland to avoid a hard border, the Times reported.

He said a UK-EU deal would involve "compromises, give and take on all sides" but when faced with "product on the table" in the form of an agreement backed by all 28 governments there could be a shift in attitude at Westminster.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mrs May's effective deputy prime minister David Lidington and Secretary of State Karen Bradley will attend a summit on the Isle of Man on Friday.

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