Brexit

DUP slam EU plan for Northern Ireland to stay in customs union

DUP MP Ian Paisley said: "I'm disgusted by what the EU are saying about my country"

The DUP have described the EU draft deal to protect the open border in Ireland by keeping the north in the customs union as "unacceptable".

The 120-page document states, "the territory of Northern Ireland, excluding the territorial waters of the United Kingdom ... shall be considered to be part of the customs territory of the Union".

Customs controls would be "carried out jointly by the Union and the United Kingdom customs authorities competent for the territory of Northern Ireland".

Northern Ireland would remain subject to EU restrictions restricting state aid for companies, in respect of measures affecting trade between the territory and the EU.

The proposals sparked anger from the DUP, with leader Arlene Foster calling it "constitutionally unacceptable."

Speaking this morning after details of the document were leaked, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley told the NI Affairs Committee: "I'm disgusted by what the EU are saying about my country. I'm appalled."

Mr Paisley said the British government was facing its biggest test of resolve in the Brexit negotiations and described the plan for common regulations between Northern Ireland and the Republic as an attempt to annex part of the UK.

He told Secretary of State Karen Bradley: "I would ask the government to show some teeth to the EU that we will not be rolling over to the demands to annex part of our country."

MEP Diane Dodds called the proposals "economically disasterous" and called for the north to leave the EU "on the same basis as the rest of the UK."

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said if the EU or Dublin government believed the document would be acceptable to the British government "they are deluded."

Speaking during British Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May said the EU document proposes the creation of a border in the Irish Sea.

"No UK prime minster could ever agree to it," she said.

 "The draft legal text the Commission have published would, if implemented, undermine the UK common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea, and no UK prime minster could ever agree to it.

"I will be making it crystal clear to President Juncker and others that we will never do so."

The DUP's MPs prop up the Conservative government at Westminster. Theresa May is due to present her vision for Britain's future relationship with the EU in a speech on Friday.

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