Arlene Foster says May's Brexit deal is 'not in Northern Ireland's interest'

Arlene Foster says May's Brexit deal is 'not in Northern Ireland's interest'

As EU leaders endorsed the proposed withdrawal treaty in Brussels, Foster made clear there were no circumstances under which her party would vote for it when it comes before the House of Commons.

"This is going to be a waste of time today if she doesn't listen to what people have to say to her". So let's wait until we get to that vote.

It would mean Northern Ireland continuing to follow European Union regulations relating to matters like cross-border trade.

The party's leader, Arlene Foster, flatly reiterated the DUP's opposition to the deal "as it now stands", telling May to "stop wasting time" and seek a better one, while also warning of the consequences if she did not.

Following the talks, Ms Foster repeated her demand for the prime minister to ditch the so-called backstop arrangement for the Irish border, despite Mrs May having insisted Brussels will not accept it.

The DUP, a Brexit-supporting, working-class party with strong links to local Protestant churches and a fierce commitment to maintaining Ulster's place in the United Kingdom, is enormously influential in the British legislature at the moment, as Theresa May's minority government relies on their MPs to get legislation through the House of Commons as part of a "confidence and supply" arrangement.

Earlier in the week the DUP raised questions about the future of the confidence and supply agreement after MPs pulled their support by abstaining on a number of key budget votes.

The Northern Irish party propping up British Prime Minister Theresa May's government on Saturday (Nov 24) said it would vote against her Brexit withdrawal agreement, which its deputy leader said would leave Britain in a "pitiful and pathetic place".

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"If we left the European Union on Monday, it wouldn't be a day too soon", said DUP House of Lords member Maurice Morrow told the party conference audience to applause.

As far as I can see, this is not going through Parliament. We also recognise that within our own organisation there are business owners, farmers and fishermen - none of whom want to see their own financial interests injured as a result of a failure to formulate an agreed way forward.

'What we should do is wait to see what develops in that respect'.

Mrs May said she spoke to Mr Sanchez on Wednesday night and is "confident on Sunday that we'll be able to agree a deal that delivers for the whole United Kingdom family, including Gibraltar".

"What I'm saying to the government is this deal, this current deal, does not allow us to take back control". If people are looking to Dublin for representation in Europe because we're the subject of EU rules that is so risky in terms of the Union.

"It is in unionism's interests for those from all backgrounds to feel comfortable in a Northern Ireland at peace with itself". "This deal makes that possible and that's why, across Northern Ireland, employers large and small have been getting behind it".

"Such a scenario in the medium term would inevitably lead to barriers to trade within the United Kingdom internal market. Those things are kept in the national parliament and what this document does, what the worldwide treaty that has just been agreed today does, is make a difference between us in terms of those global issues and I think that's very important to us".

Boris Johnson compared Theresa May's Brexit deal to the Titanic yesterday as he used a platform provided by the Democratic Unionist Party to savage the prime minister's draft withdrawal agreement.

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