The European Union would like to see a customs border in the Irish sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom in case no Brexit deal is reached. British Prime Minister May is reported to have written to the leaders of the small Northern Irish political party that she believed that the EU would push for a so-called “backstop to the backstop”, which would keep the province in regulatory alignment with the Republic of Ireland. She also said she would never accept any ‘circumstances or conditions’ that would break up the UK into two customs territories.
Arlene Foster, the head of the Northern Ireland-based Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said that the letter sent by Ms. May “raises alarm bells for those who value the integrity of our precious Union and for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole of the UK”. Ms. May has been trying to finalize a divorce deal with the EU that can get support both in the EU and within her own divided party, as well as within the DUP who do not want Northern Ireland to be treated differently than the rest of the UK.
A spokesperson for Ms. May also confirmed that prime minister would not like to see a situation in which the United Kingdom is divided into two territories. “The government will not agree anything that brings about a hard border on the island of Ireland,” he added.” There are already arrangements in place such as the single electricity market, and on animal health, that reflect the unique relationship between Ireland and Northern Ireland.