Any hopes of securing a last-minute Brexit deal today went up in flames as the Northern Irish Democratic Union Party (DUP) said they couldn’t support Boris Johnson’s latest proposals “as it stands”. The British pound immediately fell 0.6% against the dollar.
In a statement issued on Twitter, the DUP outlined:
“We have been involved in ongoing discussions with the Government. As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT. We will continue to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.”
The revelation means there will almost certainly be no legal text for EU leaders to agree today.
Boris Johnson returned to the EU in recent months to negotiate a fresh deal after former Prime Minster Theresa May failed to find a solution.
Johnson’s new deal, which involved a customs border in the Irish sea, did enough to sway the eurosceptics in his own party, giving the UK hope for an amicable deal before the October 31st deadline.
But without a clear majority in parliament, Johnson needed the backing of 10 obscure Northern Irish MPs in the Democratic Union Party. Today’s statement implies he won’t get it.
Following a weak election in 2017, the ruling Conservative party was forced to turn to the DUP to form a majority in parliament. As a result of the deal, the DUP now acts as king-maker in all manner of British decisions.
The party holds the future of Britain and Europe in its hands.
Traders reacted immediately, sending the British pound tumbling 0.6% against the dollar in a matter of minutes. The likelihood of the UK crashing out the EU without a deal has now increased dramatically unless Boris Johnson can find a solution today that appeals to the EU and the DUP.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: October 17, 2019 08:20 UTC