Belfast Telegraph

DUP threatens to bring down Theresa May's government over Brexit backstop plan

By Mark Edwards

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said his party “will not be bullied” into propping up Theresa May’s Government if she gives in to the “outrageous, capricious and extortionate” demands of Brussels on Northern Ireland.

The DUP’s Brexit spokesman, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said his party would not accept any deal that would leave Northern Ireland “languishing in the stifling embrace of the EU”.

Mr Wilson, whose party currently props up Theresa May's government, said that while the Prime Minister is saying she will not accept any break-up of the UK his party was worried about recent briefings that the Conservatives may agree to EU demands for Northern Ireland to remain inside the customs union after Brexit to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

"If the Government is putting these proposals into the public domain to test the water, our advice is to get its toe out quickly or it is going to get burnt", he said.

"As a Unionist party, we will not give our support to any deal which includes such economically and constitionally damaging arrangements."

He added: "If the Government decides in the face of EU belligerence to cut and run and leave part of the UK languishing in the stifling embrace of the EU, then that would be totally unacceptable to us and many others in the House of Commons."

Mr Wilson said the "selling out" of Northern Ireland would be a "gift" to the Scottish Nationalists who he says would "demand special treatment" for their part of the UK.

He added: "Now is not the time to try and sell even more compromise to satisfy the appetite of the EU to humiliate our country. The road which the leaks and briefings is outlining is the road to parliamentary defeat for any deal which the Prime Minister brings forward.

"She will not have DUP support regardless of whether the Government tries to bribe, bully or browbeat us into accepting it.

"However, if the Government decides to stand up to the outrageous, capricious and extortionate demands from Brussels, she will have our full support and she could rally the country behind her."

Earlier on Wednesday the DUP said its MP's would be prepared to vote against the Prime Minister's budget if she breaks the party's "red lines" on Brexit.

In a move seen by some as a warning shot, DUP MPs failed to back the Government in voting against a Labour amendment to an Agriculture Bill outlining post-Brexit reforms on Wednesday night. Despite their abstention, it was still defeated by 59 votes.

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