The “dangers of a bad deal” on Brexit are worse than no deal, said Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster following a week of meetings with EU leaders in Brussels.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, she claimed to “fully appreciate the risks” inherent in a no-deal scenario, but added that the government should reject the “dodgy deal” foisted on the U.K. by Brussels.
“The DUP’s actions this week are not as some have suggested about ‘flexing muscle.’ This is no game. Anyone engaging in this in a light-hearted way foolishly fails to grasp the gravity of the decisions we will make in the coming weeks,” wrote Foster, whose MPs vote with the Conservatives to guarantee their majority in the U.K. parliament.
The so-called “backstop” arrangement to avoid the need for a hard border between North and South is the subject of intense negotiations this weekend between London and Brussels. One proposal is for Northern Ireland to be subject to EU regulations after Brexit, meaning checks would be needed on goods and agricultural products moving between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.
“This backstop arrangement would not be temporary. It would be the permanent annexation of Northern Ireland away from the rest of the United Kingdom and forever leave us subject to rules made in a place where we have no say,” wrote Foster.
Writing separately in Belfast daily paper the News Letter, former U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson argued it had been a mistake for the government (which he was a member of at the time) to agree to the backstop.
“[It is] now completely obvious that the government made a dreadful mistake in December last year,” he wrote.