October 3, 2019 / 4:40 PM / 15 days ago

DUP deputy leader says Ireland reaction shows backstop a trap

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The deputy leader of the Northern Irish party that supports Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government on Thursday said the reaction of the Irish government to Britain’s Brexit proposals shows that ‘backstop’ was a trap.

“The flippant Dublin reaction to the Prime Minister’s proposals has also exposed the reality that the Irish government would never have consented to the United Kingdom leaving the backstop if it had been implemented,” said Nigel Dodds.

“He should reflect on his comments and his intransigent approach.  He is destined to go down in history as the Taoiseach who restored a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland because his friends in Brussels will insist on it.”

Earlier on Thursday, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar welcomed Britain’s offer to the European Union but said customs arrangements and giving a veto to Northern Ireland’s assembly over any future regulatory divergence from EU rules are a problem.

Britain is due to leave the EU at the end of October but the two sides have not been able to agree the terms of their divorce. The biggest obstacle remains a deep disagreement over how to keep open the seamless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit.

Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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