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DUP Will Block May’s Budget if ‘Red Lines’ Abandoned, Wants Brexit Delivered

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DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty

The Northern Irish party propping up Theresa May’s minority government has threatened to vote down the budget if she breaches its “red lines” on the Irish border in the Brexit talks.

The right-wing, pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is against any Brexit plan that will divide the province from the rest of the UK with a sea border or customs checks.

The European Union has demanded such division if the border with the Republic of Ireland cannot be kept open or the entire UK does not remain inside the bloc’s Customs Union – as Mrs May is now reportedly considering after Brexit.

The DUP issued the threat by briefing broadcasters. One source told the BBC: “If Theresa May doesn’t take our concerns on board, we will take the view that she is not the leader to take us through to a safe Brexit.”

DUP leaders have been cautious not to state publicly what the party would do if their “red lines” are breached by the government.

However, the DUP has advocated a clean Brexit and earlier this month party leader Arlene Foster said they could support Boris Johnson as the next Prime Minister.

She praised the former foreign secretary for his “positive” views on Brexit, as Mr Johnson pushes for a Canada-style trade deal with the EU instead of Mrs May’s Chequers plan, which he argues is only partially leaving the bloc.

“Whoever leads the Conservative Party we will work with as it’s in the national interest. The reason we signed the agreement was to ensure Brexit,” Mrs Foster said on October 1.

Just minutes before the news broke that the DUP is considering voting down the budget, a Downing Street source was asked if Mrs May felt she could rely on DUP votes in parliament.

“The confidence and supply arrangement we have with the DUP is a matter of record,” he replied. “Is that a yes?” a Guardian reporter asked. “It’s an answer,” the government source said.

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