Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 6 News List

N Ireland’s DUP says not backing latest Brexit plan

SEEKING SENSE:Party leaders said it would keep working with London to try to get a sensible deal that protects the UK’s economy and constitutional integrity

Reuters, LONDON

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) yesterday said it could not support a Brexit deal being proposed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU.

Johnson said in a tweet that Britain and the EU had agreed a “great” new Brexit.

“Now parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday [tomorrow] so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS [National Health Service], violent crime and our environment,” he wrote.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also took to Twitter to announce the deal.

“Where there is a will, there is a deal — we have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions,” Juncker tweeted. “I recommend that EUCO endorses this deal,” he said, referring to the European Council.

However, the DUP, who have expressed concerns that the Brexit deal could cut Northern Ireland off from Britain in customs and regulatory terms, said there had been no change in their position following the confirmation of the deal.

Earlier the DUP had said it could not support the last-ditch Brexit proposal due to concerns about the issues of customs and consent, adding there was a lack of clarity on VAT (sales tax) arrangements.

“As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT,” DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with the [British] government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” they said.

A Brexit supporter who was the face of the campaign to leave in the 2016 referendum, Johnson has said he will not ask for a delay, although his government also says that it will obey the law.

Johnson, who has no majority in the 650-seat parliament, needs 320 votes to get a deal ratified. The DUP has 10 votes.

The British parliament is to meet tomorrow in an extraordinary session — the first such meeting since the 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.

Britain’s main opposition party is “unhappy” with the new Brexit deal, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in Brussels.

“We are unhappy with this deal and as it stands will vote against it,” he said.

Asked whether he would put forward a no-confidence motion against Johnson tomorrow, Corbyn said the weekend was a time to discuss the Brexit deal and other issues would be for next week.

Additional reporting by AFP

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