Arlene Foster's 'alarm bells' as DUP warns Tories of Brexit deal 'consequences'

DUP politician Sammy Wilson

Appearing on the Matthew Wright show, Mick Fealty, the editor of Northern Ireland-based political blog, Slugger O'Toole, said Irish businesses were anxious.

Downing Street reiterated the PM's own commitment to avoiding a hard border.

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.

The party accused the prime minister of breaking a promise that that she would never sign up to a deal that treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK.

He said the most important objective is to give everyone in Ireland, North and South "the assurance that a hard border will not develop... no matter what else may happen in the years ahead".

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) interpreted a promise made by May in a letter that she would never let a division of the United Kingdom "to come into force" as an admission that such a clause would be included in a final deal, the Times reported.

A leaked letter from the Prime Minister in reply to an earlier message from Mrs Foster and her deputy, Nigel Dodds, set out Mrs May's approach.

Current EU proposals state that United Kingdom officials would be "competent authorities" to carry out checks, but in line with EU rules, something the DUP has declared a red line in any Brexit deal they agree to.

Speaking on the same programme, the DUP's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said that the party's understanding of May's negotiating position represented a betrayal.

Mr Varadkar also said: "I've no specific concerns about the communications that are happening between Prime Minister May and the DUP".

The Prime Minister relies on the support of the DUP's 10 MPs for her Commons majority, votes which may become crucial as she attempts to get a deal through Parliament.

At issue is the problem of how to avoid border checks between British Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit enters into force on March 29.

Brexit has come to the fore at today's meeting of the British Irish Council.

"People will need to ask themselves what is it that is going to be in the best interests of those who sent them to Westminster to represent them, to ensure that we maintain living standards and investment and prosperity and employment in our country".

Ms Sturgeon also said that if a deal proposed by the UK Government can not command a majority in the House of Commons, it should not mean that departing the European Union with no deal is "inevitable".

"Brexit is going to go on for a very long period of time".

"And I think if we do that, if we listen to the voice of Northern Ireland as a whole that will help us to come to an agreement".

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