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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Arlene Foster says her Brexit red line is 'blood red'

The DUP leader did not rule out her party’s MPs voting against a Brexit deal in parliament.

Arlene Foster tweeted this photo of the two leaders yesterday.
Arlene Foster tweeted this photo of the two leaders yesterday.
Image: Twitter/DUPLeader

ARLENE FOSTER HAS described her Brexit red line as “blood red” and “very red”.

The DUP leader was speaking yesterday ahead of her meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May but the clip was only played this morning on BBC Radio 4 Today

Foster has said her party will reject any Brexit deal that would effectively have Britain leave the EU customs union while Northern Ireland remains in alignment with EU trade rules.

This arrangement is what’s referred to as the ‘Brexit backstop’ and May has said that her priority is to avoid such a situation.

Speculation is growing however that London may accept some checks on goods passing between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

There have been suggestions that these checks could be carried out by UK officials away from the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland

May’s Conservatives depend on the DUP for their majority in the House of Commons, which must approve any final deal.

A rebellion by the DUP, or indeed by even a small number of Conservative MPs, could be enough to kill the deal, potentially causing chaos.

(Click here if video doesn’t play)

Asked yesterday if her party’s MPs would vote against any Brexit deal if it did not satisfy them, Foster said she was hopeful such a situation would not happen.

“We don’t want to be in that position, but we’re not calling anyone’s bluff around this,” Foster said.

This is too important for us to be playing around with things because this is the union, this is what brought me in to politics. It’s very important for us that we get this right. 

Foster refused to be drawn on the issue, saying she would not comment on a deal she has not seen, but was then asked ‘how red?’ her red line was.

“The red line is blood red, it’s very red,” Foster said.

“I think we’re selling the Prime Minister short, she understands where we are in all of this and therefore I need to give her the space to share that information with me.” 

After a meeting with May in Birmingham, Foster tweeted a photo the pair and said: “NO border in the Irish Sea will ever be acceptable to unionists throughout the UK… regulatory or otherwise.”

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Rónán Duffy

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