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Brexit: Ireland border deal 'unacceptable and far too ambiguous,' says DUP's Nigel Dodds

Text of deal received late on Monday morning

By Jonathan Bell

Nigel Dodds has said the deal between the UK and the EU was "far too ambiguous" and did not reflect the discussion his party had held with the Conservative party.

He was speaking after Brext Secretary David Davis reiterated to the House of Commons Northern Ireland would not remain in the EU single market or customs union after the UK's departure from the EU after the collapse of a deal.

On Monday critical talks on brokering a deal on the first phase of the negotiations - on the divorce bill,  the movement of people and the Irish border - collapsed at the last minute following a DUP intervention.

DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said a text of the agreement was sent to his party "very late" on Monday morning which was "far too ambiguous".

He said the issues which "needed to be nailed down, were not nailed down".

"What matters is the text and the words," he said in a press conference outside parliament. "It is vitally important that text translate into what has been agreed. When we negotiated St Andrews and other agreements, that was always the test."

The North Belfast MP said there were areas that regulatory cooperation with the Irish Republic "made sense" in specific cases, "but not in terms of the single market and customs union rules as a generality".

"Regulatory divergence was brought in by the Irish Government and there were sensible ways of dealing with the border - though technology and trusted traders and exemptions - which the EU had rejected."

He also rejected that his party had a veto over the talks and took aim at the Irish Government who he said were behaving "aggressively" and flexing their muscles. He said their actions were damaging relations which would take years to repair.

"And if they continue their aggressive stance they are endangering for themselves the outcome they themselves want to avoid," adding that Monday's events demonstrated the decision to leave the EU was the correct one.

Mr Dodds said the UK Government and others should have a "clear understanding" of the party position.

"We want to see a sensible Brexit and will continue to work through the issues with the government today and in the coming days.

"These issues are vital to our nation as a whole that we must work for as long as is necessary to ensure that they are got right.

"For us and indeed many in Parliament, the integrity of the UK comes first".

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