BELFAST (Reuters) – The head of the Northern Irish Party, which supports the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May, is "ready" to trigger a Brexit without trade and now considers it as the "most likely outcome," Observer reported Saturday. cite a leaked email.
Northern Ireland Democratic Union Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster will hold a press conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on 9 October 2018 following a meeting with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. REUTERS / Yves Herman
The newspaper said that Arlene Foster, Ashley Fox, chairman of the European Parliament's Conservative MEPs, said she had a "hostile and difficult" exchange at her meeting with Michel Barnier, the French representative of the European Union's negotiating team.
"AF said the DUP was ready for a no-deal scenario that they now consider the most likely," the e-mail says, whose sender or recipient did not identify the newspaper.
The observer said it was one of several e-mails "leaked" by the highest levels of government.
A DUP spokesman declined commenting on what Foster wrote for an article published on Saturday at the Belfast Telegraph. In it, Foster said she would not favor a Brexit deal over a bad deal and call the current plans "annexation of Northern Ireland" by the EU.
The negotiators of the British and European Union this month have accelerated the pressure for a Brexit deal, but talks are continuing on the issue of the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU Member State ,
Without a comprehensive trade partnership between the EU and the UK after Brexit, the EU will seek a "backstop" agreement that would effectively expose Northern Ireland to the Union's rules in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
But the DUP, whose support must pass through legislation in the British Parliament, vehemently opposes any proposals that treat the province differently than the rest of the UK.
"I fully appreciate the risks of a no-deal (Brexit), but the dangers of bad business are worse," Foster wrote in the Belfast Telegraph article.
"This backstop agreement would not be temporary, it would be the permanent annexation of Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK and would forever put us under the rules of a place where we have nothing to talk about," she added.
The UK wants every "backstop" agreement to be temporary. Hardline's Brexit supporters in the ruling Conservative Party in May fear it could be used to keep the entire UK forever in a customs union with the EU.
The EU rejects every specific deadline.
Foster said her party, which has ten MPs in the British Parliament, did not bluff in their tough stance.
"This is not a game, and anyone who is light-hearted will fail to grasp the severity of the choices we will make in the coming weeks," said Foster.
"The next few days, weeks and months will be crucial, and the decisions made will determine the type of Northern Ireland our grandchildren will live in."
Foster said she wanted a workable deal for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and would be traveling to Dublin for talks on Monday.
In an article in another Northern Irish newspaper, the Belfast News Letter, former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also commented on the defenses and described May's acceptance of accepting them as a "terrible mistake."
"The only way to get things back on track is to dig backstop …" Johnson wrote.
Reporting by Amanda Ferguson; Writing by Conor Humphries and James Davey; Arrangement by Gareth Jones and Richard Chang