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Arlene Foster slams Dublin over reported text of Brexit border deal (but Scotland wants in)

A deal was expected to be announced this afternoon but this has not happened.

DUP leader Arlene Foster says her party will not accepted the reported deal.
DUP leader Arlene Foster says her party will not accepted the reported deal.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

Updated 4.22 pm

DUP LEADER ARLENE Foster has claimed that the Irish government is “seeking to unilaterally change that Belfast Agreement” following reports of deal between Dublin and London.

A deal was expected to be announced this afternoon but European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed that work still needed to be done.

The UK was expected to concede that there will be no “regulatory divergence” on the island of Ireland in relation to the single market and customs union.

It would effectively mean that Northern Ireland would operate under the same regulatory rules that pertain within the EU.

Details of the deal were to be announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon but that announcement was put on hold.

Further negotiations are set to continue ahead of a crunch Brussels summit beginning on Friday week.

The DUP is opposed to Northern Ireland being treated any differently to the rest of the UK and has said it will not accept any such deal.

Following reports of the deal, DUP leader Arlene Foster spoke to reporters this afternoon.

“We have been very clear, Northern Ireland must leave the European Union on the same terms as the rest of the United Kingdom and we will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the UK. The economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must not be compromised in any way,” Foster said.

Her majesty’s government understands the DUP position.  The Prime Minister has told the House of Commons that there will be no border in the Irish Sea. The Prime Minister has been clear that the UK is leaving the European Union as a whole and the territorial and economic integrity of the United Kingdom will be protected.

Foster then said that the DUP wanted a “sensible Brexit” and accused the Irish government in Dublin of seeking to change the Good Friday Agreement.

We want to see a sensible Brexit where the Common Travel Area is continued, we meet our financial obligations, have a strictly time limited implementation period and where the contribution of EU migrants to our economy is recognised in a practical manner.

“The Republic of Ireland government for their part claim to be guarantors of the Belfast Agreement but they are clearly seeking to unilaterally change that Belfast Agreement without our input and our consent. And of course we will not stand for that,” she said.

Scotland  

News that Northern Ireland may be treated differently to the rest of the UK has prompted Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to suggest that Scotland could also be treated the same way.

In the June 2015 referendum, both Northern Ireland and Scotland had majorities voting to remain within the EU.

In a tweet, Sturgeon said:

If one part of UK can retain regulatory alignment with EU and effectively stay in the single market (which is the right solution for Northern Ireland) there is surely no good practical reason why others can’t.

Outside of Northern Ireland and Scotland, Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also suggested the remain-voting London could “remain within the single market”.

Read: Brexit breakthrough announcement expected as UK ‘concedes’ on border issues >

Read: Senior Conservative says Ireland’s Brexit strategy is because of Frances Fitzgerald controversy >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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