Economy

DUP Will Block May’s Budget if ‘Red Lines’ Abandoned, Wants Brexit Delivered

DUP Will Block May’s Budget if ‘Red Lines’ Abandoned, Wants Brexit Delivered

The Prime Minister has come under growing pressure from Brexit-backing Tories to drop the plan agreed by the Cabinet at her country residence in July and instead seek a Canada-style free trade deal.

It's reported the party fears being "sold out" in the Brexit talks and could vote against the budget triggering the possibility of bringing down the government, forcing a General Election.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said that up to 85pc of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement was now complete.

The party's Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson, wrote on Thursday morning that the United Kingdom government is treating the pro-union DUP like a "soft touch who can be pushed around" over the thorny issue of the Irish border.

The backstop is the insurance policy for making sure the frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is maintained after Brexit. "Is the DUP aware of the Irish Government's position on this?"

He said an agreement had to be "within our grasp" if talks are to conclude at next week's summit of European leaders.

'Of course the Government are going to whip this vote extremely hard, but what I would say is that the whips would be doing incredibly well if they were to halve the numbers.

Speaking about the agriculture bill vote, Mr Wilson told BBC News: "It was a way of reminding the government that while our vote wasn't important last night, it would be important some time in the future, and we would have no hesitation withholding it if we thought that was a necessary sanction to impose".

More news: Nigeria president to run for second term with party endorsement

If 40 Tories rebelled against the PM it could mean her Brexit deal would fail to get Parliamentary approval and she would need Labour votes to get it through.

DUP leader Arlene Foster insisted on Tuesday that her party would not accept customs or regulatory checks on goods travelling in either direction between Northern Ireland and Great Britain after meeting European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

And to make the prime minister's headache even more acute, around 30 Conservative party's pro-EU MPs are reportedly planning to form an official group counterbalance the Jacob Rees Mog-led ERG pro-Brexit group.

"The reason we signed the agreement was to ensure Brexit", Mrs Foster said on October 1.

"And we are still open - we are still open - to the idea of having a customs union with the UK".

Selmayr, secretary general of the European Commission, has been tasked with coordinating preparedness to protect the EU from economic and political damage if Britain leaves the bloc on March 29 next year without a divorce deal in place.

Senior Cabinet ministers will gather in Downing Street on Thursday for the latest in a series of briefings on the state of negotiations, though it is not expected that any fresh decisions will be made at the meeting.


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