Expect speculation, says DUP over claim Irish Sea border proposal raised during PM meeting
The Prime Minister raised the possibility of an Irish Sea border with the DUP during their meeting on Tuesday as a potential way for him to get a Brexit deal with the EU.
The Daily Telegraph reports leader Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds were "receptive" to the idea although they stressed there could be no divergence in tariffs between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Responding to the story a DUP spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph there will be "all sorts of speculation and briefings".
"But the Prime Minister has rejected the backstop publicly and privately," he added.
"We want a sensible solution which does not undermine the United Kingdom. Only such a deal will be able to command the necessary support for it to succeed.”
The sea border idea is reported to expand upon the current health checks on livestock that are already made for sea crossing.
Mr Johnson is thought to be considering trusted trader schemes and electronic pre-authorisation of goods to solve the issue of tariffs on the movement of goods on the island of Ireland between the EU and the UK.
The prime minister, its reported, also discussed the so-called "Stormont lock" idea giving the Northern Ireland Assembly a veto over changes in arrangements should NI remain in part aligned with EU rules after the UK's departure.
After their hour-long meeting in Downing Street Arlene Foster said the Prime Minister had again repeated his rejection of the backstop.
She said they had been encouraged by the tone of the Prime Minister's visit to Dublin in which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar repeated the EU would be open to alternatives to the backstop.
"History teaches us that any deal relating to Northern Ireland which cannot command cross community support is doomed to failure," Mrs Foster said.
"That is why the Northern Ireland backstop is flawed. Not one single unionist MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly supports it.
She added: "A sensible deal, between the United Kingdom and European Union which respects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom, is the best way forward for everyone."
Earlier a Prime Minister spokesman rejected claims Mr Johnson was considering a Northern Ireland-only backstop.
“The Prime Minister is 100% committed to getting a deal which works for the UK – and all of the UK – and abolishes the anti-democratic backstop,” he added.
Belfast Telegraph Digital