The DUP’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson has insisted that any EU deal for the island of Ireland must be subject to a restored assembly.
A front page article in today’s Times newspaper said the DUP has agreed to shift its red lines on Brexit, saying it could accept Northern Ireland abiding by some European Union rules post-Brexit as part of a new deal to replace the Irish backstop.
The paper claimed the DUP, the biggest party in Northern Ireland, had also privately said it would drop its objection to regulatory checks in the Irish Sea, something it had previously said was unacceptable since it would separate Northern Ireland politically and economically from the mainland.
The Times, citing unidentified sources, wrote that in return for such concessions Brussels would abandon its insistence on Northern Ireland remaining in a customs union with the EU.
The party’s Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson MP, told the BBC this morning: “We will not be accepting separate arrangements for Northern Ireland that cut us off from the United Kingdom. The only different arrangements we will accept for Northern Ireland are those where the assembly has total scrutiny of any EU legislation it decides are in the interest of Northern Ireland and doesn’t damage our relationship with the UK. And in those situations we will consider adopting a appropriate legislation of we believe it is to the advantage of industry in Northern Ireland.”
He strongly rejects suggestions that this would be a Bacstop by any other name.
His description of the DUP proposals echoes that made by DUP MLA Jim Wells earlier this week.
On BBC Question Time last night, DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “Some of the statements being made by the Irish government in particualar [now] are a lot more positive.
“The Taoiseach when he met the Prime Minister on Monday this week said that the Irish government were prepared to now consider alternative arrangements to the backstop.
“The EU Trade Commissioner, who is also Irish, said that the EU were prepared to consider alternative arrangements. So I think we are beginning to see a shift. There is the prospect now of getting a deal”.