DUP rejects claims it should have supported Theresa May's Brexit deal

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and leader Arlene Foster in Downing Street

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and leader Arlene Foster in Downing Street - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The DUP has strongly rejected suggestions it should have supported Theresa May's Brexit deal, which would have provided a backstop and avoided the creation of the Northern Ireland protocol which was part of Boris Johnson's agreement.

Lord Dodds told the Belfast Telegraph: "Some people have mistakenly suggested that if Theresa May's backstop had been accepted, we could have avoided the problems we face today. Such an idea is wrong.

"The May backstop contained a regulatory border in the Irish Sea in exactly the same way as the protocol. Mrs May said that the rest of the UK would just tag along and keep its laws in step with the EU.

"That was not legally enforceable under the treaty and, politically, the Tory party would never have accepted such a scenario, as was demonstrated in the many rejections of her backstop by her own party.

"Likewise, the May backstop had Northern Ireland in EU customs union rules with a temporary add-on of Great Britain being tacked on. That would never have survived under May's successor, even if it had squeaked through her own party."

Dodds said that the backstop would have also taken Northern Ireland on a similar path - locked into a separate agreement from Britain.

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"Not a single unionist party in the Assembly supported the backstop because they could see it as being the prototype of exactly the same arrangements as we have today," he said.

"It set in international law the principle that Northern Ireland would be subject to EU laws like the protocol.

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"Fundamentally, regardless of what the parties in Northern Ireland thought, Mrs May's deal couldn't even gain the support of her own party.

"The backstop would have led us to the same position as we are in today, just at a different speed."

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