Kingmakers of Northern Ireland say to Prime Minister May: Do not betray the United Kingdom

LONDON (Reuters) – The North Irish party that backed Prime Minister Theresa May's government on Friday called his Brexit negotiation treasonous and said he could not support an agreement that would split the UK .

DUP's chief, Arlene Foster, addresses the media at a press conference in Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 2, 2018. REUTERS / Clodagh Kilcoyne

This warning highlights the difficulties faced by May in getting any divorce agreement in Brexit, which, according to London and Brussels, is 95%, approved by both her controversial party and the Northern Ireland legislators. maintain power.

Less than five months before Britain leaves the EU on March 29, negotiators are still trying to put in place a plan to safeguard the land border between British-led Northern Ireland and Ireland member of the EU, if they can not reach an agreement.

The Unionist Democratic Party (DUP) interpreted May's promise in a letter never to let a division of the United Kingdom "enter into force" as recognition that such a clause would be included in a final agreement , the Times reported.

"The Prime Minister's letter sounds the alarm for those who attach importance to the integrity of our valuable union and for those who want a real Brexit for the whole of the United Kingdom ", said DUP chief Arlene Foster.

"According to his letter, it appears that the Prime Minister is attached to the idea of ​​a border between the Irish Sea and Northern Ireland in the regulatory regime of the single market of the EU. "

May, who on Friday marked the centenary of the end of the First World War at ceremonies held in Belgium and France, repeatedly reiterated that she would not accept any deal that would sever relations between the Kingdom. United Kingdom and the United Kingdom.

But the DUP has already torpedoed the discussions on Brexit.

Nearly a year ago, his refusal to accept an agreement on the border had caused the temporary failure of negotiations on Brexit.


The Brexit agreement – or the absence of such an agreement – will shape Britain's prosperity for generations to come.

"A positive result is not guaranteed, but I think this is possible in the coming weeks," said Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. British Cabinet Minister David Lidington said he hoped for an agreement in the coming weeks.

Both parties need an agreement to maintain trade between the world's largest trading bloc and the world's fifth-largest economy. The other 27 EU members together have about five times the economic power of Britain.

But May has struggled to unravel nearly 46 years of membership without harming trade or upset lawmakers who ultimately decide the fate of any agreement it can get.

If an agreement is rejected by the parliament, the UK will be plunged into an uncertain future: abruptly leaving without an agreement, the collapse of May's government, an election or, as some opponents of Brexit hope, a new referendum.

Since May, which sparked official divorce talks in March 2017, negotiators have struggled to find a solution to the 310-mile land border on the island of Ireland.

Both parties want to avoid customs posts, fearing a return of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, which ended in 1998 with a peace deal.

The discussion is a fallback option for the border, to be taken into account if no agreement is reached on the post-Brexit relationship.

London contends that the entire UK should remain within the framework of a temporary customs agreement with the EU, although it is difficult to determine how long it will take and what will happen. will pass after.


The EU has insisted on an insurance policy – a "backstop to backstop" – by asking London to sign a treaty clause that could leave Northern Ireland inside the country. Customs area of ​​the EU.

This is unacceptable to May's "unionist" supporters, whose political ideology is based on defending Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom.

In a letter to May, the chief of services DUP, said in a letter that all security solutions could not let the province aligned with specific sectoral regulations of the EU market. And any security should have a clear expiry date, she said.

Without the support of the DUP, May will be much less likely to get her approval by parliament.

"The Prime Minister knows the consequences, he must now reconsider his decision," said the legislator of the DUP, Sammy Wilson.

Since her bet on a quick election in 2017 that has squandered the majority of her party in parliament, May has relied on the 10 legislators of the DUP to pass a law.

The US bank JP Morgan said it expects Parliament to reject an agreement on the first attempt, but would agree to a second or third trial.

Kate Holton, Kylie MacLellan and Paul Sandle in London; and Conor Humphries in Dublin; Edited by Hugh Lawson, Alison Williams and Kevin Liffey

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