Belfast Telegraph

Proposal for Northern Ireland EU status and 'buffer zone' contradictory and half-cooked: DUP's Sammy Wilson

The DUP has blasted the Government's ideas to solve the Irish border issue as "contradictory and half-cooked".

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said Theresa May's administration had not discussed any of the latest reported proposals with his party, saying they were "at best contradictory".

He said the "convoluted" arrangements were only being discussed because the Government had failed to "make it clear to the EU that regardless of (Michel) Barnier and EU negotiators' attempts to keep us in the customs union and the single market, we are leaving.

He added: "Instead of moving from one set of half-cooked ideas to the other, it is now time for the Government to put down its foot and make it clear to EU negotiators that the Prime Minister stands by her commitment that no deal is better than a bad deal, and if they want to avoid the consequences then they need to stop dismissing the perfectly feasible ideas that were put forward in August of last year."

It comes after a report suggested Northern Ireland could be given joint EU and UK status and a "buffer zone" on its border with the Republic, under new plans being drawn up by David Davis.

The scheme is understood to be under consideration as a potential way of breaking the deadlock over future customs arrangements ahead of a crunch summit of EU leaders on June 28-29.

But it was dismissed as "fantastical" by anti-Brexit campaigners, while Liberal Democrats described it as "like something out of Alice in Wonderland".

Future customs arrangements are likely to be high on the agenda at a meeting of leaders of British industry with Theresa May and senior ministers to discuss the Government's Brexit strategy at 10 Downing Street on Monday.

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