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UK Government planning Brexit extension to appease DUP - reports

The UK government are drawing up secret plans to extend the transition period in the Brexit withdrawal agreement, according to reports.

The Guardian reported the agreement could extend the time that the whole of the UK will abide by EU rules.

It has been reported that the main motivation for the extension is to convince the DUP the backstop plan will never need to be enacted. It is intended to be a temporary arrangement to prevent a hard border in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The DUP has been adamant that any Brexit deal can not differentiate Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

If the new proposals were adopted it would mean the whole of the UK would be locked into a prolonged exit period.

Senior EU sources told The Guardian that the plans were being discussed by the European Commission and UK negotiators in Brussels.

Under current proposals the UK will live under EU during a 21-month transition period, if the new plan is agreed this could significantly legnthen.

The DUP are holding a meeting in Portadown on Friday for party MLAs and MPs to discuss the Brexit negotiations.

Ahead of the meeting East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said Prime Minister Theresa May must take action to protect the Union.

The party, who are in a confidence and supply agreement to prop up Mrs May's Conservative Government, have said they are willing to vote against the government if betrayed on the Brexit deal.

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