Pressure grows on May as DUP reveals Brexit ‘shock’

Unease from senior cabinet members over tactics compound problems facing PM over Irish border question

Theresa May is facing mounting pressure to secure a breakthrough in EU negotiations after the Democratic Unionist party expressed shock at the handling of the Irish border topic and Brexit-supporting Conservatives said the time had come to walk away.

Senior cabinet members also voiced unease at May’s tactics, and complained they were not informed in advance about Downing Street’s plan to promise the EU some sort of” regulatory alignment” to assistance move the divorce talks on to the next stage.

Sources warned that key Brexit supporters in May’s top squad would object if they believed that anything was agreed that could limit the UK’s ability to diverge from the EU in the future.

Quick guide

Why is the Irish border a stumbling block for Brexit?

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Counties and customs

Inside the EU, both Ireland and Northern Ireland are part of the single market and customs union so share the same regulations and standards, letting a soft or invisible border between the two.

Britain’s exit from the EU- taking Northern Ireland with it- dangers a return to a hard or policed border. The only route to avoid this post-Brexit is for regulations on both sides to remain more or less the same in key areas including food, animal welfare, medicines and product safety.

Early drafts of the agreement Britain hoped to get signed off on Monday said there would be” no divergence” from EU rules that” support north-south cooperation”, afterward changed to” continued alignment” in a formulation that appeared to allow for subtle divergences.

But it created new questions about who would oversee it and how disagreements might be resolved. It was also clearly still a step too far for the DUP.

Photograph: Design Pics Inc/ Design Pics RF

On the day after May was forced to step back from procuring a bargain on divorce negotiations after a last-minute intervention from the DUP šŸ˜› TAGEND

Party leader, Arlene Foster, revealed that she had been asking the government for the wording of text pertaining to the Irish border for five weeks. She said it was a” big shock” when the document landed on Monday morning because” we realised there was no way we could sign up to that text “.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said it would be “intolerable” to bind the UK to EU regulations prior to trade talks, telling the BBC that the government was starting to” stare at the edge of what is a price that we simply cannot afford to pay “.

Former cabinet minister Nicky Morgan hit back, saying:” Strolling away when the Brexiteers encounter difficulties they never bothered to anticipate is not in the national interest, betrays the futures of millions of young people and the individuals who never wanted to leave in the first place .”