DUP threat over Brexit backstop deal … BBC
DUP threat over Brexit backstop deal
By Enda McClafferty BBC News
The Democratic Unionist Party’s deputy leader has threatened to paralyse the government’s domestic agenda if Northern Ireland’s place in the union is jeopardised by a Brexit
But, Nigel Dodds said his party would stop short of triggering a general election.
He was speaking ahead of a key cabinet meeting in London.
Theresa May is attempting to rally ministers behind her at the start of a critical 48 hours for Brexit.
On Monday, she told MPs an agreement with the EU was “still achievable” despite apparent deadlock over the issue of the Irish border.
The DUP prop up Mrs May’s government and the prime minister relies on their support in key votes as she does not have a majority in the House of Commons.
Mr Dodds told BBC’s Newsnight that his party was ready to withdraw support for the government on key domestic legislation if there is any move to “break up or fracture the union”.
He was speaking after he sought assurances from the prime minister at Westminster that Northern Ireland will not be left in the EU single market when the rest of the UK leaves as part of any backstop deal.
The backstop is a safety net that will apply to the border if a wider deal or technological solution cannot keep it as frictionless as it is currently.
The UK rejected the EU’s proposed backstop, which would see Northern Ireland staying in the customs union and large parts of the single market, and instead proposed a backstop which would keep the whole of the
UK in the EU customs union for a limited period.
Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Mr Dodds said his party would “not want to pull the plug on the government and allow Jeremy Corbyn into No 10”.
However, he warned that the DUP “can not support the government’s domestic, financial, welfare and other legislation, which does not trigger the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn getting into No 10”.
In what appeared to be a direct appeal to cabinet ministers due to meet the prime minister on Tuesday morning, he added: “I would say to colleagues we do not want this.”
“We want to work with the Conservative and Unionist Party but if there was a suggestion that the union, our precious union as the prime minister describes it, would be broken up or fractured in any way by the
Conservative Party, then we would have to say, ‘how could we continue to implement your domestic agenda and your budgets?’
“We wouldn’t push for a general election but there comes a point where you have to say enough is enough.”