Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) announced on Friday that it would only accept the continuation of European Union rules in Northern Ireland after Brexit on the condition that the Northern Irish assembly can choose which ones.
“The only arrangements we will accept for Northern Ireland are those in which the Assembly would have full control over European legislation,” DUP spokesman Sammy Wilson told the BBC. “In this context, we would consider adopting appropriate legislation if we believe that it is in the interest of the North Irish economy,” he added.
Wilson was reacting to a report in the Times, on Thursday night, citing unnamed sources, that the DUP was prepared to make concessions that would see the application of certain EU rules in Northern Ireland after Brexit in the context of a new agreement to replace the backstop.
According to the newspaper, the Unionist party, which supports the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has also said in private discussions that it no longer customs opposes checks in the Irish Sea between Ireland and Great Britain.
However DUP leader, Arlene Foster, was quick to throw cold water on the report in the Times, taking to Twitter to say: “UK must leave as one nation. We are keen to see a sensible deal but not one that divides the internal market of the UK. We will not support any arrangements that create a barrier to East West trade.”
“Anonymous sources lead to nonsense stories,” she added.
The border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland is one of the biggest issues between the EU and the government in London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to abolish the Northern Ireland clause negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May with Brussels, which is designed to prevent a hard border with customs controls.
However, Irish PM Leo Varadkar said Friday he saw no rapprochement between the EU and London. “The distance between us is still very big,” he said