LONDON (Reuters) – A mooted eleventh-hour solution to the deadlock over Brexit cannot work because Northern Ireland must remain in a full United Kingdom customs union, the deputy leader of the province’s key political party said on Saturday.
Deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds walks in Whitehall in London, Britain, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
With the Oct 31 deadline for a new Brexit divorce deal looming, an EU diplomat and an official said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed keeping Northern Ireland in some form of EU customs partnership as well as a UK customs union.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which supports Johnson’s Conservatives in Westminster, will play a key role in deciding whether Britain and the European Union can reach an agreement
Italian newspaper Repubblica quoted its deputy leader Nigel Dodds as saying the proposal Johnson is said to have made “cannot work, because Northern Ireland has to remain fully part of the UK customs union”.
Johnson knew the DUP’s position, Dodds added.
According to EU diplomats, Brussels was willing to enter intense talks with British negotiators this weekend to try to strike a deal after Johnson backed down in key areas, including dropping a demand for customs checks on the island of Ireland.
While this would prevent the return of customs checks at the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, it could require customs and