It’s no secret that the DUP could accept a customs union or Norway-style Brexit. But it can’t let Tory Brexiteers know that.
The DUP has issued a curious rebuttal to a well-sourced story in today’s Times on its leadership’s openness to a Brexit solution involving a customs union or single market membership.
Senior sources within the party tell the paper that they could support a “softer Brexit, as long as it applied to the whole United Kingdom”. Neither DUP MPs nor Arlene Foster, their leader, are shy of articulating this position in public.
Foster in particular has been more than willing to stress that ultimately, her party has only one, inviolable red line – that the whole United Kingdom exits on the same terms – and that all else about the shape or hardness of Brexit is secondary. She even said so in an interview with the Times in November.
But notwithstanding the fact that it reflects her own stated position, Foster has described this morning’s story as “inaccurate and no doubt intended to undermine efforts to get the necessary changes to the Withdrawal Agreement” and “an attempt to cause division”. She adds: “For the future we want an agreement which returns control of our money, our laws and our borders through a UK-wide trade agreement with the EU.”
Though written as if it were a denial, Foster’s rebuttal isn’t and cannot be one, for the obvious reason that it is true that she and her party could accept a UK-wide soft Brexit. It is instead designed to protect the DUP from the political consequences of the division she says the story is an attempt to foment.
Tories have long suspected, with some justification, that nobody in the DUP is particularly doctrinaire about the politics of EU withdrawal apart from Sammy Wilson, its pugnacious …read more
Source:: New Statesman