Brexit deal will not jeop­ar­dise UK in­tegrity, vows sec­re­tary

Business a.m. - - WORLD BUSINESS & ECONOMY - busi­ness a.m.

DO­MINIC RAAB, BREX IT SEC­RE­TARY has pledged that the govern­ment will not sign up to any deal, which could threaten the con­sti­tu­tional in­tegrity of the UK.

Raab made the com­ments fol­low­ing a one-day visit to North­ern Ire­land.

He met with busi­nesses in War­ren­point and Larne, and he also met with politi­cians at Stor­mont.

Raab did not defini­tively rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a “back­stop” plan.

A back­stop would mean new checks on goods com­ing into North­ern Ire­land from Great Bri­tain.

Asked three times if the govern­ment had ruled out any new reg­u­la­tory checks at the Ir­ish Sea ports, he said: “We are en­gaged in a ne­go­ti­a­tion process.”

He added that he was not go­ing to en­gage in a run­ning commentary but said the UK po­si­tion was “we want to pre­serve the in­ter­nal mar­ket within the United King­dom”.

Ar­lene Foster, DUP leader said she made it clear to Raab it is im­por­tant that “as well as not hav­ing as cus­toms bar­ri­ers, we can­not have any reg­u­la­tory bar­ri­ers” be­tween North­ern Ire­land and the rest of the UK.

When asked by BBC News NI if Raab gave that as­sur­ance, Foster said it is “an on­go­ing process”.

Fol­low­ing her meet­ing with Raab, Sinn Féin pres­i­dent Mary Lou Mc­Don­ald ac­cused the govern­ment of act­ing “in bad faith” over Brexit and warned the bor­der is­sue is not a “foot­note”.

She added that the govern­ment has “stepped back” from its com­mit­ment to up­hold the Good Fri­day Agree­ment.

The North­ern Ire­land “back­stop” re­mains the ma­jor un­re­solved is­sue in ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Mc­Don­ald added that the Sinn Féin meet­ing with the Brexit sec­re­tary was “di­rect”.

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