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Arlene Foster hits out after EU negotiator Barnier rejects backstop plan

By David Young

The DUP last night slammed EU negotiator Michel Barnier's rejection of the UK's backstop Brexit plan.

Party leader Arlene Foster said: "We will not tolerate the annexation of Northern Ireland. Let's focus on getting a new trade deal.

"That is good for everyone."

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: "This is nothing more than an outrageous attempt to revert to the annexation of Northern Ireland.

"We will not acccept such a proposal.

"Mr Barnier fails to understand that both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have already indicated this his proposed backstop is not acceptable.

"No Prime Minister could ever agree to any arrangement which would threaten the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom."

Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Mr Barnier said it would not be feasible to extend the European Commission's backstop plan - under which Northern Ireland would remain part of the EU customs union after Brexit - to include the whole of the United Kingdom.

And he said that Prime Minister Theresa May's plans for a temporary backstop were not in line with the needs of Brussels, Dublin or Belfast.

Meanwhile, Mrs May attempted to downplay Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's outburst on the progress of negotiations.

His remarks about Brexit, which saw him call for "guts" in talks, emerged as the PM flew to Canada for the G7 summit.

Quizzed by broadcasters on her arrival in La Malbaie, she said: "Boris has strong views on Brexit, but so do I."

Belfast Telegraph

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