DUP now have '˜more direct involvement' in negotiation
The DUP has been granted more direct involvement in the Brexit negotiations, a senior figure in the party has claimed.
In the wake of Monday’s dramatic developments, which saw a potential deal between London and Brussels on the Irish border blocked by the DUP at the 11th hour, it appears the party has now been given a seat at the talks table.
Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, DUP MP Jim Shannon said: “We are going to have a much more direct, hands-on relationship with the UK negotiating team from now on.
“That has already started, and we have had direct discussions with government officials face-to-face and over the telephone in recent days.”
Mr Shannon said the arrangement was “proving to be very helpful” and added that he was “reassured” by the prime minister’s remarks in the Commons yesterday, when she vowed that the Brexit settlement would respect the UK’s “constitutional integrity” and “internal market”.
Mr Shannon’s comments come after DUP leader Arlene Foster said Monday’s breakdown in the talks would not have happened if her party had been directly involved at that stage.
Following a telephone call with the prime minister yesterday, Mrs Foster said there is “still work to be done” before any agreement is reached on the issue of the Irish border.
Mrs Foster said the deal the UK government was set to agree with the EU on Monday came as “a big shock” to her party.
She said the DUP was only shown the text on Monday morning, despite having asked to see a draft for five weeks.
And Mrs Foster claimed the London negotiating team had indicated to her that the Irish Government had prevented the DUP from being shown a copy of the draft agreement.
Dublin has rejected her claim and said it “had no involvement in any decision on which documents should go to the DUP”.