• STV
  • MySTV

Northern Ireland border issue could lose DUP support

May has been warned to treat Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has warned Prime Minister Theresa May.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson has warned Prime Minister Theresa May. PA

The Conservative Government will not be able to rely on the votes of the DUP in Parliament for any Brexit deal that treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK, one of the party's MPs has warned.

Sammy Wilson's warning came amid pressure from Dublin for the UK to agree a special arrangement under which Northern Ireland would continue to observe the rules of the EU's customs union to avoid a hard border with the Republic.

Border issues appear to be the biggest remaining obstacle to a green light for talks on post-Brexit trade at an EU summit next month, after reports that the UK has agreed the broad terms of a financial settlement which would see it pay up to £50 billion over a number of years.

London and Dublin have voiced their determination to avoid a return to checkpoints and border posts between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but Irish agriculture minister Michael Creed said no solutions had been offered by the UK Government.

Anti-Brexit campaigners stage a protest on the Irish border.
Anti-Brexit campaigners stage a protest on the Irish border. PA

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) refused to comment on a report in The Times that British negotiators had put forward a proposal to devolve powers to Northern Ireland to enable "customs convergence" with the Republic in areas such as agriculture and energy in an attempt to break the deadlock.

The paper quoted sources in Dublin as saying there had been "movement" on the issue and confidence was growing that agreement could be reached in time for next month's summit in Brussels.

Responding to the report, Mr Wilson said his party will be "making clear to the Government we have a confidence and supply arrangement with them", under which the minority Conservative administration relies on the support of the 10 DUP MPs to ensure its survival.

The East Antrim MP told the BBC: "If there is any hint that in order to placate Dublin and the EU, they're prepared to have Northern Ireland treated differently than the rest of the UK, then they can't rely on our vote.

"They have to recognise that if this is about treating Northern Ireland differently, or leaving us half in the EU, dragging along behind regulations which change in Dublin, it's not on."

Theresa May is desperately hoping EU leaders will give the go-ahead for the second phase of the negotiations - including talks on a free trade deal - to begin at the European Council summit on December 14-15.

She is due to travel to Brussels on Monday for talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in the hope of securing a declaration that "sufficient progress" has been made on divorce issues like the financial settlement and the Irish border.

The leaders of the remaining 27 EU states, including Irish premier Leo Varadkar, have a veto on triggering the second phase of talks, meaning Mrs May must be sure of support from Dublin for progress to be made.

However, appearing on BBC2's Newsnight on Wednesday, Mr Creed said they had yet to see a workable solution from the UK.

He said that having ruled out an Irish proposal for Northern Ireland to remain part of the single market and the customs union, it was up to the British to say how they could get round the need for border checks.

"If the UK has clearly said no to a single market and customs union, it is clearly incumbent on the British Government to articulate a way forward that enables us to have an invisible, seamless border which they have said they want," he said.

"We need political solutions now and we are not getting them from the UK Government."

DUP MP Ian Paisley urged the Republic of Ireland to take a more "mature" approach to Brexit.

"If the Republic of Ireland is going to keep shouting at our border and telling us that it is all doom and gloom and we are not going to get a proper relationship, that interferes in the negotiation process," he told RTE.

"All of us, every constituent part, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, are leaving the EU.

"Don't undermine our position and our sovereign integrity."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.