The DUP says it scuppered Brexit talks because the Irish Republic was "reckless and dangerous"

Catherine Neilan
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Sinn Fein And DUP Leaders Meet With Theresa May At Downing Street
Dodds was speaking the day after the DUP scuppered a deal on Brexit (Source: Getty)

The DUP has said it rejected the Irish border proposals after being given sight of the text just a couple of hours before Theresa May's top level lunch meeting yesterday - and issued a stark warning to the Irish Republic.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the party, which is currently propping up May's minority government, was only shown the proposals late yesterday morning and they were not consistent with what they had expected.

Dodds said: "The text.. did not translate what we had been told in general conversations into reality because there was far too much ambiguity and didn't actually nail down the need to be nailed down"

"The government have always been clear about their red lines, but what matters is the text. What matters are the words that are used, and it’s vitally important that the text translates accurately what are the general principles of political agreement”

Dodds, who is due to meet government chief whip Julian Smith today, reiterated party leader Arlene Foster's comments yesterday that the DUP sought a "sensible Brexit" - but issued a warning to the government of the Irish Republic.

He said Leo Varadkar's government was "flexing its muscles" in a "reckless and dangerous way", and showing a new aggression and tone that could put Anglo-Irish relations at risk.

The “regulatory alignment” proposals were introduced by the Irish government, he added, and are not necessary. Dodds also called on the EU to consider whether it was right to give the country the right of veto.

Speaking almost simultaneously, Varadkar told Irish parliament it would not give the go-ahead for Brexit talks to move onto phase two until the border question had been solved.

"As things stand, the ball is very much in London's court," he said. "There is time to put this agreement back on track and we await to hear from London as soon as they're ready."

May is still hoping to be able to put together a deal before the end of the week, and is speaking to Foster and Sinn Féin leader Michelle O'Neill via phone today in order to pull something together as soon as she can, although she is not expected to return to Brussels until after tomorrow lunchtime at the earliest.

More to follow...

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