DUP set to vote against PM's amended Brexit deal

Arlene Foster said the party would consider the amendments. Credit: UTV

The DUP looks set to vote against the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.

Theresa May was in Strasbourg on Monday night to secure last-minute changes with the EU on the issue of the Irish border backstop.

She has been trying to persuade MPs to vote for the new proposals in a meaningful vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Ms May said she had secured “legally-binding” changes over the backstop.

However Attorney General Geoffrey Cox published his legal opinion shortly after 11am, which went against the PM’s insistence.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster said her party would take its time to analyse the amendments.

“This is a very pivotal moment, it’s a historic moment and therefore we need to be sure as to what we’re looking at,” she said.

“I know everybody’s very interested to hear what we have to say, but it’s important that we take our time and we don’t knee-jerk on these things.”

However in a statement, they confirmed there had been "insufficient progress" for their 10 MPs to support the amended deal.

The pro-Brexit European Research Group have said they will vote against the deal after publishing advice from their so-called ‘star chamber’ of lawyers.

The DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds is part of that group.

Mr Dodds said Geoffrey Cox’s advice shows Northern Ireland would be trapped in the backstop after Brexit.

The DUP's Nigel Dodds. Credit: UTV

"We know already from the Irish government and others what they see as the ultimate destination for Northern Ireland - the backstop is the bottom line,” he said.

"From what the Attorney General is saying today, provided there is no bad faith, the fact is that Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom could be trapped if it's a question that the EU does not agree with the United Kingdom to a superseding agreement."

Mr Cox said he believed that would give the UK a case to unilaterally leave the backstop.

Responding to Mr Dodds he said: "He knows I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it. It's there in my written statement, I urge him to consider it."

Meanwhile Sinn Féin said the DUP "is hell bent on pursuing a reckless and blinkered Brexit strategy".

Michelle O'Neill accused them of "driving us all towards a no-deal catastrophe".

She said: "It is time to put people's jobs, livelihoods and peace first before selfish party political interests."

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