A spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has told a local newspaper that a no-deal Brexit would be “probably inevitable”.
Speaking to the Belfast News Letter, DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson accused the European Union of backing UK Prime Minister Theresa May “into a corner” and offering terms he characterised as “far worse” than a fully no-deal Brexit.
Sources allege the EU has advocated for a “backstop to the backstop”, which would keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and the single market; but that this was rejected by the British government as it would necessitate the establishment of a hard border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain. In further attempts to prevent a no-deal Brexit scenario, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab made an unexpected trip to Brussels over the weekend to meet with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. No agreement was reached.
Leaders of EU Member States are due to meet in a summit later this week. They will eventually be joined by May, who will continue to attempt negotiations. Wilson accused the EU of “intransigence” and alleged that even if May was able to reach a deal with EU representatives, she would be unable to clear such a deal with the UK parliament.
Former Brexit minister David Davis, who resigned in July and has advocated both hard and no-deal Brexit scenarios, said in the Sunday Times that May’s cabinet needed to “exert their collective authority” over the interminable Northern Ireland question. Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, wrote in the Belfast Telegraph that the “dangers of a bad deal” would be worse than a no-deal Brexit.
Wilson suggested if a comprehensive Brexit deal could not be reached, negotiators would still agree on a series of “mini agreements” on essential immediate concerns such as aviation and freight transport; so that in the event of a no-deal Brexit essential services would still continue to run.
Civil servants and business leaders have urged the government to begin contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit by the end of October in order to be prepared for exit day on March 29, 2019.