Arlene Foster, leader of the Northern Irish party which props up Boris Johnson’s Tory government, said the Irish Taoiseach’s aim to keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union “forever” after Brexit had been exposed. She warned the Irish premier the DUP would not accept “any such ultimatum or outcome” and no UK Government “could ever concede such a surrender”.
Ms Foster said: “The Prime Minister’s proposals have flushed out Dublin’s real intentions to trap Northern Ireland in the EU Customs Union forever, where Dublin rather than the United Kingdom’s elected representatives would be in the driving seat.
“We will not accept any such ultimatum or outcome.”
Her comments come after a call between Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel, during which the German Chancellor made clear getting a Brexit deal passed is “overwhelmingly unlikely”.
Mrs Merkel told the Prime Minister that Northern Ireland is the UK’s “special problem” and that the Irish Republic must at least have a veto on it leaving the customs union, a No10 source claimed.
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The source said Mrs Merkel had made it clear that the EU had taken a “new position” following the tabling of the latest UK plan last week, saying: “She made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the customs union”.
The source told Sky News: “It was a very useful clarifying moment in all sorts of ways.
“If this represents a new established position, then it means a deal is essentially impossible, not just now but ever.
“It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday Agreement.”
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Ms Foster said Mrs Merkel’s comments revealed the “real objective of Dublin and the European Union”.
She added: “For the United Kingdom to be asked to leave a part of its sovereign territory in a foreign organisation of which the UK would no longer be a part and over which we would have no say whatsoever is beyond crazy.
“No UK Government could ever concede such a surrender”.
Irish Taoiseach Mr Varadkar has also dismissed Mr Johnson’s latest Brexit proposal, which would see Northern Ireland stay in the European signer market for goods, but leave the EU customs union along with the rest of the UK, which would result in new custom checks.
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Mr Varadkar insisted there is still time to do a deal but warned Mr Johnson’s deal do not “form the basis for deeper negotiations”.
But DUP MP Sammy Wilson warned Mr Varadkar his party would not support Northern Ireland being “held to ransom” over the Brexit impasse.
Mr Wilson also sent a warning to Mr Johnson, telling him Ireland would not take financial “sweeteners” from London to ensure custom checks are carried out on the border after Brexit.
He said: “The Irish prime minister must realise that we will not support Northern Ireland being held to ransom by either Dublin or Brussels.
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“This is not about money. And if people still think it is then they are really not plugged into the Irish mindset or to the history of this island.
“This is not about money or sweeteners or being paid off or anything like that.”
But Downing Street accused Brussels of making it “impossible” for Britain to leave the EU with a deal.
And a Number 10 source told The Spectator political editor James Forsyth that Mr Varadkar was no longer prepared to talk, preferring to “gamble” on a second referendum to overturn the 2016 vote.
The source also said there were “all sorts of ways” they could scupper the Benn Act, which requires Mr Johnson to seek a fresh Brexit extension if he cannot get an agreement by October 19.
The source said that, if any EU government supported a further delay, it would be treated as an act of “hostile interference” with UK politics.
The source said: “We will make clear, privately and publicly, that countries which oppose delay will go the front of the queue for future co-operation – co-operation on things both within and outside EU competences.
“Those who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue.
“Supporting delay will be seen by this Government as hostile interference in domestic politics, and over half of the public will agree with us.”