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UK PM draws fury of Northern Irish allies over Brexit

AFP  |  London 

British drew the fury of her crucial Northern Irish allies on Friday after seemingly accepting an EU-backed solution they fervently oppose.

newspaper reported that May sent a five-page letter on Tuesday to the leaders of Northern Ireland's small (DUP) that props up her government.

In it, May reportedly tried to assure her allies that she would never allow a deal proposal offered by to "come into force".

But DUP leaders said on Friday that May's wording meant the fix would still be included in the withdrawal agreement that and hope to reach in the coming days.

They said May had earlier promised them that it never would.

"The PM's letter raises alarm bells for those who value the integrity of our precious union & for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole UK," DUP tweeted.

"From her letter, it appears the PM is wedded to the idea of a border down the with NI in the regulatory regime." told that May was guilty of "total betrayal".

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

suggests Britain could temporarily stay aligned with the bloc's trade rules but wants to reserve the right to exit the arrangement.

The EU appears ready to accept that -- but only if there is a fall-backed option written into the withdrawal agreement.

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

This would then require additional checks on goods and agriculture flowing between and mainland Britain along the

The disagreement underscores the difficulties a smooth Brexit faces even if London and Brussels agree the terms of a divorce deal.

May is due to meet French on Friday on the sidelines of World Way I commemorations being held in and

But she needs the DUP support at home once the deal -- if any -- comes up for approval in parliament.

Some eurosceptics in her are already threatening to vote against the deal because it could lock Britain into a long-term customs arrangement with the EU.

May's loss of DUP backing could see the government lose the Brexit vote in parliament and potentially face early elections.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 09 2018. 15:40 IST
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