DUP 'could vote against the Budget' over Brexit deal

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier shake hands during a joint news conference in Brussels Belgium

It highlights how Theresa May's "precious Union" has little meaningful support among the British prime minister's own supporters or those in other parties who regard themselves as unionist.

"If we followed Mr Barnier's advice, my information is that those checks would become 100%, although with a veterinary agreement in a future trade deal, that might be reduced somewhat", she said.

"We would need to be unafraid to go forward without an agreement", Mr Baker said.

The DUP is growing alarmed because it fears Downing St is edging towards a deal with the European Union that may lead to additional regulatory checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

One of the key things they have not yet agreed is how to prevent there being new border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the EU.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose MPs prop up the minority Conservative administration in the Commons, closed down one mooted avenue for compromise by insisting her party will not accept customs or regulatory checks on goods travelling in either direction between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

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The discussion is expected to include a commitment to keep the whole of the United Kingdom in an effective customs union with the EU after Brexit, but with a "clear process" of steps to exit.

In parliament, her deputy Nigel Dodds rammed the point home, warning Raab not to "repeat that mistake" from December - when the DUP nearly pulled the rug out from an interim accord negotiated by May by scuppering a proposal that would have seen regulatory alignment between the European Union and the province.

"My estimate is that there are at least 40 colleagues who are not going to accept a "half in, half out" Chequers deal or indeed a backstop that leaves us in the internal market and the customs union". Asked whether that implied her supporters are ready to "fight and die" for them, she replied: "What I meant by that is that they are deep red - they're not pink".

The Labour leader is expected to whip his MPs to vote against the Brexit deal when it comes to Commons, whatever the shape of the agreement as it is unlikely to meet with the party's "six tests".

Mrs May will continue to dismiss the EU's proposals on the Irish border question, refusing to publish a backstop plan until Brussels negotiates a more favourable deal, her senior aides have said.

Earlier in the day, she told BBC Radio Ulster that it is "eminently possible" to reach a Brexit deal that "works for everyone" with weeks.

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