DUP casts doubt on Brexit ‘double customs’ plan

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Nigel Dodds, deputy chief of the Democratic Unionist Party, has voiced doubts in regards to the thought of a “double customs” plan for Northern Ireland within the first signal of resistance to Boris Johnson’s new Brexit proposals.

The British prime minister has put ahead the concept Northern Ireland may stay legally a part of the UK customs space whereas in follow it could be a part of the EU’s customs territory.

But Mr Dodds, talking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, hinted that the DUP wouldn’t discover any such resolution acceptable: “Northern Ireland must remain fully part of the UK customs union. And Boris Johnson knows it very well,” he mentioned. “It cannot work because Northern Ireland has to remain fully part of the UK customs union.”

The response of the DUP may show important as a result of Mr Johnson lacks a majority within the House of Commons and would nearly actually want the celebration’s 10 MPs to get a deal over the road. In addition, some hardline Eurosceptic Tory MPs within the influential “European Research Group” (ERG) are prone to be influenced by the DUP’s remaining response to any proposed deal.

Saturday, 12 October, 2019

On Friday evening Owen Paterson, a Eurosceptic former cupboard minister, mentioned that Northern Ireland being held within the customs union with out Great Britain was a breach of the Belfast Agreement and would “store up problems in Northern Ireland” lengthy after Brexit is achieved. Mr Dodds mentioned on Twitter that Mr Paterson was “absolutely right”.

While Mr Dodds’ feedback on Saturday don’t symbolize an outright rejection of the deal, they are going to increase alarm in Downing Street the place Mr Johnson’s group is way from complacent about getting a deal.

Nicky Morgan, tradition secretary, mentioned earlier on Saturday that the “mood music” seemed to be optimistic, even when there have been extra particulars nonetheless to be labored out.

Mrs Morgan advised the BBC Radio four Today programme: “After the meeting between the Irish Prime Minister and our Prime Minister on Thursday, there is no doubt that things do look promising.”

Brussels is that this weekend holding last-ditch Brexit negotiations with Mr Johnson’s group aimed toward stopping the UK from leaving the EU and not using a deal after a breakthrough in talks between the 2 sides sparked hopes of an settlement.

EU diplomats gave a inexperienced mild to ramp up talks after Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, advised them that the UK prime minister had shifted his place sharply on a collection of central calls for by the EU — sending sterling hovering in opposition to the greenback.

Mr Barnier advised EU27 diplomats that the UK accepted there couldn’t be a “border across the island of Ireland”, in sharp distinction to Britain’s earlier proposals that entailed a brand new customs border.

He additionally mentioned Mr Johnson had signalled a willingness to scrap a mooted veto for the Northern Irish Assembly on regulatory preparations.

The European Commission mentioned on Friday that “constructive” talks between Stephen Barclay, the UK’s Brexit secretary, and Mr Barnier had led to an settlement to “intensify discussions over the coming days”.

Downing Street nonetheless hopes to finalise a deal on the European Council assembly beginning on Thursday.

If a deal have been to be wrapped up by EU leaders in Brussels, Mr Johnson would then transfer rapidly to attempt to win parliamentary approval at a particular Commons sitting subsequent Saturday, in what can be a second of reality.

Mr Johnson’s group are drawing up plans to fudge probably the most controversial subject dogging the talks; whether or not Northern Ireland needs to be a part of the EU customs union to keep away from the necessity for a tough border with the Republic.

Officials near the negotiations say Mr Johnson would preserve Northern Ireland within the UK customs territory in authorized phrases, which means it could profit from any free commerce offers struck with third international locations, however in sensible phrases it could be a part of the EU customs space.

Goods coming into Northern Ireland would face customs and regulatory checks on the Irish Sea to permit them to maneuver freely on to the Republic. British and EU officers would acquire tariffs for the EU at ports in Northern Ireland and remit them to Brussels. Importers must declare a rebate the place British tariffs have been decrease than these set by the EU.

On Friday Mr Johnson refused to elaborate on whether or not Northern Ireland would stay within the EU customs union after Brexit, however as a substitute steered his precedence was to make sure that it may gain advantage from future commerce offers.

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