Arlene Foster has announced that the DUP will not vote for any Brexit deal that includes a border, of any kind, in the Irish Sea killing any chance of May striking a deal that resembles Chequers with the EU. This makes a General Election extremely likely in the coming months as May will be unable to get a deal accepted by both the EU and Parliament.
In an interview, Foster stated that not splitting Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK had been the DUP’s “one red line”.
The PM had planned to compromise with the EU over the dispute over the customs backstop by offering a regulatory border in the Irish Sea. This will no longer be possible.
May already has huge problems with Brexit as Labour and sections of her own party had vowed not to vote for her Chequers proposals. The EU has also categorically rejected them.
Despite this May reaffirmed her commitment to Chequers.
This announcement, however, means it becomes impossible for May to offer anything the EU will accept.
The leader of the DUP in the commons, Frank Dodd said the following in the statement:
The danger of this Irish backstop is that it has the potential, to not only separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, in any divergence that there may be from it, it also has the potential to shackle the UK for generations to come in its relationship with Europe.
Dodds also stated their agreement was with the Conservative Party, not May, indicating they expect a new leader to replace May that will deliver what they want.
Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief
May is finished and a clean Brexit looks impossible. The Tory Brexiteers will hope to remove her without forcing a general election but that is a task that they might not have the numbers for, because Tory Leadership elections dictate that there must first be a ‘vote of no confidence’. May, has reached a dead end with her Chequers proposals, unless she were to adopt Labour’s proposals, and with the fact that her Brexit deal is dead, crucially so is her premiership.
A general election would give both parties serious headaches about their Brexit policy.
Whilst in statements the DUP criticised Corbyn for his apparent republicanism he now may be their only hope of not having a hard Irish border.