Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

Tariff-free EU trade could mean DUP will back Boris Johnson

Comments: Nigel Dodds
Comments: Nigel Dodds

By Gillian Halliday

Unionist concerns about Boris Johnson's Brexit deal would be "eliminated" if a tariff-free trade deal with the EU is reached, a senior DUP figure has said.

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Nigel Dodds said the gesture would "go a long way" to gaining the DUP's support should the Conservatives win Thursday's election.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Dodds said the plan would remove key stumbling blocks which had prompted the DUP to speak out against the deal.

In October the party raised concerns that in its current form, the agreement would put a legal, customs and economic border down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The DUP has indicated that it would demand changes to the deal if its support is required for the Tories to form a Government following the election.

"There is no doubt that if we reach a tariff-free trade deal with the European Union that will eliminate the need for most if not all customs checks," said Mr Dodds.

"I sincerely hope that will be the case. It should certainly be the stated objective of the British Government, and the Irish Government, to be fair."

He added: "Certainly that would go long way, in the long run, to alleviate most of these problems about checks."

However, Mr Dodds cautioned that the DUP would also need a unionist veto to be included in the deal to ensure it would have its full support.

Mr Dodds believes the DUP will continue to play a crucial role at Westminster, even though polls show the Conservatives are on course for a majority.

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