PM re-states pledge of no GB-NI border

Theresa May
Theresa May

Theresa May has told the DUP that the UK will not remain in the customs union or the single market after Brexit, its deputy leader Nigel Dodds said.

The Prime Minister said there would be no breaking up of the UK “economically, politically or constitutionally” following Brexit, Mr Dodds told reporters after he and party leader Arlene Foster spent almost 90 minutes in talks with Mrs May at 10 Downing Street.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds

DUP MP Nigel Dodds

A new customs plan to solve the Ireland/Northern Ireland border issue was discussed but the Prime Minister “didn’t go into any details”, he added.

Mr Dodds also accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other European leaders of attempting to “bully and intimidate” the UK into agreeing a deal of their liking.

Asked by reporters after the talks about whether his party – which has a supply and demand deal with the Conservatives – would support Mrs May regardless of what happened at Chequers on Friday, he said: “We don’t give blank cheques to anybody and I think it is very clear that we don’t.

“On Brexit we want to see a proper Brexit which fulfils the referendum result.

“We have been very clear that has to be on the basis that the whole of the UK leaving the EU as one. I’m confident the PM will deliver on that.”

Theresa May told MPs: “There remain some real differences between us and the European Commission on Northern Ireland.

“On the protocol on Northern Ireland I want to be very clear: we have put forward proposals and will produce further proposals, so that if a temporary backstop is needed there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“We are absolutely committed to the avoidance of such a border and we are equally committed to the avoidance of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

“Northern Ireland is an integral part of our country and we will never accept the imposition of a border within our United Kingdom.”

The Prime Minister said EU leaders had “all agreed that we must now urgently intensify and accelerate the pace of negotiations” on the future relationship.

“I warned EU leaders that I did not think this Parliament would approve the withdrawal agreement in the autumn unless we had clarity about our future relationship alongside it,” she said.

Mrs May said the white paper, which will be produced next week after Friday’s Chequers showdown, would set out “detailed proposals for a sustainable and close future relationship” between the UK and EU and mark “an important step in delivering the decision of the British people”.

“The EU and its member states will want to consider our proposals seriously,” she said.

“We both need to show flexibility to build the deep relationship after we have left that is in the interests of both our peoples.”

Mrs May again stressed that the UK would leave the single market and customs union.-