UK PM faces fury of North­ern Ir­ish al­lies over Brexit

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - International -

BRI­TISH Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May drew the fury of her cru­cial North­ern Ir­ish al­lies on Fri­day af­ter seem­ingly ac­cept­ing an EU-backed Brexit so­lu­tion they fer­vently op­pose.

London’s lat­est po­lit­i­cal spat un­der­scores the trou­ble May’s frac­tured gov­ern­ment faces in pass­ing through par­lia­ment any Brexit ar­range­ment it thrashes out with Brus­sels over the coming days.

The Times news­pa­per re­ported that May sent a five-page let­ter on Tues­day to the lead­ers of North­ern Ire­land’s small Demo­cratic Union­ist Party (DUP) that props up her gov­ern­ment. May re­port­edly told her rul­ing coali­tion part­ners she would never al­low the dis­puted Brexit deal pro­posal of­fered by Brus­sels to “come into force.”

But DUP lead­ers said on Fri­day that May’s word­ing meant the fix would still be in­cluded in the with­drawal agree­ment that London and Brus­sels hope to reach in the coming days. They said May had ear­lier promised them it never would, and they threat­ened to vote against the agree­ment. “The PM’s let­ter raises alarm bells for those who value the in­tegrity of our pre­cious union & for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole UK,” DUP leader Ar­lene Foster tweeted.

At is­sue is the prob­lem of how to avoid bor­der checks be­tween Bri­tish North­ern Ire­land and the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land af­ter Brexit en­ters into force on March 29. London sug­gests Bri­tain could tem­po­rar­ily stay aligned with the bloc’s trade rules but wants to re­serve the right to exit the ar­range­ment. The EU ap­pears ready to ac­cept that, but only if there is a fall­back op­tion writ­ten into the with­drawal agree­ment.

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