Britain 'will not accept Brexit deal' separating it from Northern Ireland

SIPA USA  PA Images               Brexiteer MPs have called on Theresa May to publish the full details of the backstop arrangement

It led to the DUP's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson to accuse the Prime Minister of being guilty of a "total betrayal" of her promises that Northern Ireland would not be treated differently from the United Kingdom should Downing Street and Brussels fail to secure a future trade deal.

Speaking at the British-Irish Council summit on the Isle of Man, Mr Varadkar said he was hopeful a Brexit deal could be done by the end of the year but it would not amount to a "clean break" as talks would have to continue.

His remarks come after DUP leader Arlene Foster expressed alarm at the contents of a letter from Mrs May which her party is interpreting as creating the potential for a post Brexit border in the Irish Sea.

'If a deal emerges shaped on the contents of the PM's letter, DUP MPs & our allies will not support it, ' Wilson later tweeted.

"There are stages to go through before it comes to Parliament".

DUP leader Foster said in a letter to May that any backstop could not leave Northern Ireland aligned to specific sectoral European Union market regulations.

And she warned that any deal based on Mrs May's proposals for a soft Brexit would ultimately "deny Britain and the British people their ultimate freedom".

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"I don't think it leaves it on shaky ground because of course the confidence and supply agreement was entered into at a time of great national instability, we wanted to see stability in the Government at that time and we also wanted to deliver on a Brexit vote that had been taken".

This so-called "backstop to the backstop" would see Northern Ireland become wedded to the EU single market and customs union should London and Brussels fail to strike a permanent trade deal.

The DUP leader said "no unionist" could back Theresa May's apparent advocacy of a withdrawal treaty that includes a Northern Ireland specific backstop measure to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Political leaders from across the United Kingdom and Ireland attended including the Cabinet Minister David Lidington and the Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

"There is no clean break here, Brexit is going to go on for a very long time".

The DUP's Sammy Wilson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme his party has "a number of concerns" and accused Downing Street of leaking the letter sent to DUP leader Arlene Foster, telling the same programme: "I assume it's part of the process of trying to get into the public domain what will finally be agreed".

A potential sticking point could be demands for European Union fishing fleets to be given continued access to British coastal waters as the price for agreeing to Mrs May's UK-wide backstop, the Daily Telegraph reported.

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