DUP’s Foster challenges May with 'blood red lines' over new Brexit ‘backstop’

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier shake hands during a joint news conference in Brussels Belgium

Some Brexiteers say those proposals would ensure the EU kept control over swathes of the British economy and thus run counter to the spirit of her manifesto pledge to leave the EU Customs Union and the Single Market.

Just minutes before this story broke, a Downing Street source was asked whether the PM felt she could rely on DUP votes.

He also stressed the EU's insistence that Britain must accept possible checks on goods moving between its mainland and its province of Northern Ireland, saying Brexit will trigger the need for customs, value-added tax and compliance checks with European Union standards.

DUP leaders have been cautious not to state publicly what the party would do if their "red lines" are breached by the government.

The MP dismissed suggestions that a Canada-style free trade deal would lead to a hard border being created between Northern Ireland and Ireland as a "red herring".

Foster is using her position as powerbroker in a bid to prevent any arrangement that would see checks on goods travelling between Britain and Northern Ireland, which she views as a threat to the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom and the Northern Irish economy.

But there are also likely to be increased regulatory checks in the Irish sea to protect the European Union single market - something that could destroy relations with the DUP.

Under the European Commission's "backstop" plan for the Irish border, customs and Value-Added Tax checks would be carried out using existing customs transit procedures, to avoid the need for physical inspections at the border, he said.

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Mr Barnier vowed he would keep fighting to protect the integrity of the European Union single market.

Mrs May is thought to be trying to unlock the negotiations with new plans for a "backstop" to avoid a hard Irish border.

The DUP issued the threat by briefing broadcasters.

His comments came as the Democratic Unionists indicated they were prepared to vote against the Budget if it is unhappy with the Brexit deal.

Barnier has amended the EU's "backstop" plan to try to minimise checks on goods coming into Nothern Ireland and make sure they take place away from the border. But since we can't guarantee the result right now, we have to prepare for all possible outcomes, ' one diplomat said.

'The EU27 need to be ready on day one to address issues like citizen's rights, transport or customs coherently'.

Barnier told small business leaders that the talks were "continuing intensively this week, day and night, with the aim. of having a deal within reach, if we follow through to the end of this negotiations, on October 17". If the DUP again voted down any regulatory differences whatever, we are left with No Deal, unless the DUP concede something.

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