The latest announcement by the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) suggests that the Northern Irish party and its ten MPs are looking for any excuse to defeat Theresa May’s attempts to find a Brexit deal.
EuroNews NBC’s political editor responded to comments by DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds by pointing out that the DUP is ‘still not happy’ – and that this is not a new phenomenon:
McCaffrey is correct. Last December the DUP was unhappy about ‘regulatory divergence’ between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as a possible solution to the issue of a hard border in Ireland and Theresa May’s proposed deal with the EU would solve that problem at least temporarily.
But now Dodds and the rest of his party are moving on to a different issue – the idea that the ‘extended transition period’ would reduce the UK to a ‘rule-taker’, subject to EU rules and paying toward EU costs without having a say.
This looks like the DUP is ‘getting in its excuses early’ for wrecking May’s deal, with an eye on protecting itself against the impact of the 2021 census, where more than half of Northern Ireland’s population is expected to be revealed as Catholic for the first time.
Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), a majority Catholic population would guarantee a referendum on the unification of Ireland – anathema to the unionist party – but a hard border would wreck the GFA.
It’s looking more and more apparent that the DUP wants a hard Brexit – and a hard border – for reasons that Theresa May can do little about.
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