DUP call Irish border plans a ‘disaster’ as summit looms

Downing Street plays down idea of Brexit agreement being reached next week

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A Brexit sign is seen between Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and Londonderry in Northern Ireland at the border village of Muff, Ireland, February 1, 2018.

Following a meeting in Brussels with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, DUP leader Arlene Foster dismissed suggestions that she was ready to soften her position, and said her party would not accept any new regulatory checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea.

"Our proposal tries to help the United Kingdom in managing the negative fallout of Brexit in Northern Ireland in a way that respects the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom".

But veteran Europhile Tory Kenneth Clarke urged her to ignore hardline Brexiteers and bring forward a deal acceptable to pro-EU MPs on both sides of the Commons.

The UK Government is also due to publish its own revised proposals for the Irish border, but Downing Street has said only that these will appear "in due course".

Mrs Dodds says now veterinary certificates are checked for animals coming into NI, with physical checks carried out on 10% of those.

A DUP source told Sky News: "It is unacceptable that we would be treated differently to the rest of the UK".

The sabre-rattling came as Mrs May races against time to hammer out a divorce deal with Brussels.

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But Northern Ireland would have to be separate and subject to the rules of the single market to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

DOWNING Street has played down expectations of an agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union at a summit next week, warning that "big issues" remain to be resolved.

Mr Baker told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was expecting Tory Whips to go to work on the rebels - but that around 40 of them would stand firm against her. The small Northern Irish party which props up May's government again drew what it described as the "only one red line" in its talks in Brussels on Tuesday, ruling out any checks on trade with the British mainland after Brexit.

That could destroy relations between Mrs May and the DUP - which has warned it has a "blood red" line on the issue.

Barnier said Brexit would trigger the need for customs, Value-Added Tax and compliance checks with European Union standards between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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.

'We are working hard for the Brexit negotiations to succeed.

'There is a growing sense among the EU27 that outstanding preparedness questions have to be addressed very quickly and in a detailed way.

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