Belfast Telegraph

We've still Westminster clout, says DUP as PM rules out Northern-Ireland only backstop ahead of meeting

DUP Leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds arrive in Downing Street, London for a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson Pic: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
DUP Leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds arrive in Downing Street, London for a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson Pic: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
DUP Leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds arrive in Downing Street, London for a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 10, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP and Nigel Dodds (DUP) arrive at Downing Street for talks with UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on September 10, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

The DUP has rejected a suggestion it is losing influence in the corridors of power at Westminster.

It comes as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out a Northern Ireland-only backstop as a means to get a deal with the EU.

DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, speaking on the BBC Radio 4 World at One programme said the idea his party influence in London is on the wane "flies in the face of reality".

Senior party officials - including leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds - are meeting with the PM on Monday evening.

"We are plugged into the ongoing discussions about alternative arrangements, we have a significant role to play and, therefore, I would argue that our influence remains," Sir Jeffrey said.

He also dismissed suggestions the Mr Johnson could opt for a Northern Ireland-only backstop in a bid to get a deal through parliament. He said the Conservative leader would not agree to something having appointed himself minister for the Union.

He said a trade border in the Irish seas between NI and GB would "contravene the core principles" of the Good Friday Agreement and be "destabilising".

A spokesman for the Prime Minister also ruled out a NI-only backstop.

On the meeting with the DUP, his spokesman said: "I imagine they will discuss a full range of issues including the discussions which are taking place on Brexit and I am sure they will also discuss a range of matters relating specifically to Northern Ireland as well."

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