No ‘misunderstanding’ of Brexit text – DUP


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Media caption DUP accuses Dublin of trying to change the Good Friday agreement unilaterally

The Democratic Unionist Party "had no misunderstanding" about the text of a UK-EU agreement on the Irish border, one of its MPs has said.

The Conservative Party was aware of the DUP's opinion, said Jim Shannon – one of 10 DUPs on whose support the UK government relies on to stay in power.

On Monday, Brexit talks between the UK and the EU broke up because of DUP objections to border proposals.

The DUP does not want NI border laws to be any different from Great Britain's.

Unionists tend to view with skepticism any The Political Border of the Irish Border, says BBC News NEP political editor Mark Devenport.

DUP leader Arlene Foster spoke to Prime Mini ster Theresa May on Monday shortly after telling supporters she would not allow a Brexit deal that creates "regulatory divergence" between Northern Ireland and Britain, Reuters news agency reported.

A party source declined to reveal the content of the telephone call, but said the DUP was in continuing contact with Mrs May, added the agency.

Text 'was agreed'

Disagreement over the post-Brexit operation of the Irish border is currently holding up trade talks, with the Irish government saying negotiations can not move on until it has been signed, written badurance from the UK that there will be no physical border on the island of Ireland.


By Mark Devenport, BBC News NI political editor

The DUP says it never badented to any of the wording which leaked out of the Brexit discussions, if it be "no regulatory divergence "across the island of Ireland after Brexit or" continued regulatory alignment ".

Those words were meant to provide rebadurance to the Irish government that, should the EU and the UK not be able to reach a trade deal, there would be This would mean that there would be a Northern Ireland business, adhering to the same standards and rules as their southern counterparts.

However, unionists tend to view with skepticism any proposal for harmonization of rules on either side of the border.

They are concerned about an approach to the thin end of a wedge towards Irish unity.

Read more: Difficult days ahead as DUP says 'no' [19659021] Taoi seach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said the British government had agreed to the text of which was satisfactory to his government on Monday morning.

However, he said it was evident that "things broke down and became problematic" by lunchtime

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Media caption Irish PM Leo Varadkar said he was "surprised and disappointed"

The BBC understands the deal broke after the DUP refused to accept UK concessions on the Irish border.

"We're part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," Mr Shannon told the BBC.

"So when it comes to regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland, politically and economically from the rest of the United Kingdom, we can not have that. "

" The referendum was very clear when it was held back in June 2016, "he said, referring to the UK's vote to leave the EU.

" We 're all leaving together. We're in it together, we're leaving it together and I think the quicker we come to some sort of understanding with the Republic of Ireland, the better. "


Asked if there had been a misbadysis or a misunderstanding between the DUP and Mrs May's government, Mr Shannon said the DUP's stance had been very clear

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Media caption Citizen's rights, the Irish border and money are the three big negotiation points

"There was no misunderstanding from our point of view," he said.

"They were enough of those in the Conservative Party [who] knew our opinion.

" They understood where We were in relation to this issue and they withdrew the suggestion for an agreement which was put forward. "

The DUP has a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the minority Conservative government, which means Mrs May relies on them to support her government in House of Commons votes

Asleep at the wheel?

The Ulster Unionist Party's chairman, Lord Empey, described the handling of the situation by the Tories and the DUP on Monday as a "shambles."

He said there could be only two scenarios.

"Either the DUP (leaders) were not consulted in advance by the Government, in which case they are not influential as they say, "said Lord Empey.

" Or, they were consulted but did not appreciate the full implications of the leaked document and were asleep at the wheel. "

The SDLP accused the DUP of being" terrible unionists "because they were" vetoing something that the London government wants "in the Brexit talks.

SDLP MLA Claire Hanna said that in their rows with the Tories over the Irish border, DUP negotiators were "cutting of their nose to spite their faces. "

" If the DUP have a better idea, let's hear it, "she said.

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