October 15, 2018 / 6:48 AM / a month ago

DUP Brexit spokesman says no deal 'probably inevitable'

An anti-brexit protestor holds a flag naming the six counties of Northrn Ireland outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

BELFAST (Reuters) - Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government depends on for support, believes a no-deal Brexit is “probably inevitable,” the party’s Brexit spokesman was quoted as saying on Monday.

“Given the way in which the EU has behaved and the corner they’ve put Theresa May into, there’s no deal which I can see at present which will command a majority in the House of Commons,” Sammy Wilson told the Belfast News Letter. “So it is probably inevitable that we will end up with a no deal scenario.”

With less than six months before Britain leaves the EU in its biggest shift in trade and foreign policy in more than 40 years, the latest round of talks in Brussels failed to clinch a deal on Britain’s divorce terms, with negotiators pausing negotiations just days before a leaders’ summit.

The latest round of Brexit talks faltered over the so-called backstop arrangement to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, which the DUP has objected to.

Wilson said he believed the current offer from the EU was “far worse” than a no deal and that it would not secure a majority in the British parliament.

He said, however, that a series of “mini deals” could avoid the worst effects of a no-deal Brexit.

“No deal doesn’t mean there will be nothing agreed,” he said. “It probably means there will be a lot of mini agreements on things which are essential, to keep planes flying, lorries moving, that sort of thing,” he said.

“It seems that the EU and the UK are both fairly far advanced in making preparations for that.”

Reporting by Amanda Ferguson; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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