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Is the DUP moving from 'no' to yes? Dodds says they've had constructive talks with ministers

Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg said that he would support Theresa May’s deal if the DUP agreed to vote for it.

Image: Dominic Lipinski

THE DUP HAS held talks with the British government about Theresa May’s Brexit deal, which is due for another House of Commons vote next week.

“We have had a long series of discussions with Cabinet ministers,” DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said to reporters this afternoon. “We have had a constructive dialogue.”

He said that the key problem remains the Irish backstop, which he said would “separate Northern Ireland from UK while we’re in the backstop”.

“Our focus has always been how can we ensure that Northern Ireland leaves the EU with the rest of the UK together as one country.”

We have had good discussions today… We want to get a deal, we have always been of that frame of mind but a lot will depend on what the government can do in terms of providing guarantees to dissuade those concerns.

Chancellor Philip Hammond joined the British government’s talks with the DUP earlier, fuelling suggestions that Northern Ireland could be offered more money in an attempt to win the DUP’s support for Theresa May’s deal in what would be the third ‘Meaningful Vote’.

Responding to a question from Sky News, Dodds said: “The Chancellor is a key member of the government, and also responsible for HM Revenue and Customs, which is a key concern for us… that’s an area we have discussed.”

I wouldn’t read anything into that the Chancellor was there.

Speaking to the Guardian, Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg said that he would support Theresa May’s deal if the DUP agreed to vote for it.

I am a unionist, but I’m not more unionist than the Democratic Unionist Party, he said.

There are just two weeks left before Brexit happens on 29 March; yesterday, MPs voted to postpone that date by at least three months. This is on condition that her deal is passed by the UK parliament next week.

In the event that it is passed, Theresa May would then ask the EU for a three-month extension, which needs the unanimous support of the 27 EU leaders.

The European Council is to meet next week, on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 March.

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