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Britain 'will not accept Brexit deal' separating it from Northern Ireland

Britain 'will not accept Brexit deal' separating it from Northern Ireland

She said: "I will make no bones about the fact that the Brexit experience has exposed real weaknesses within the devolution settlement that will require them to be worked through and resolved along the way".

The European plan, known as the "backstop to the backstop", would leave Northern Ireland tied to the single market and customs union if Brexit talks collapse.

Arlene Foster says it has "raised alarm bells" as Mrs May appears "wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea".

Downing Street reiterated the PM's own commitment to avoiding a hard border.

"From her letter, it appears the PM is wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea with Northern Ireland in the European Union single market regulatory regime".

He said the most important objective is to give everyone in Ireland, North and South "the assurance that a hard border will not develop... no matter what else may happen in the years ahead".

Mr Varadkar's comments came after a leaked letter from Theresa May to the Democratic Unionist Party suggested a border down the Irish Sea could be included in the withdrawal agreement.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster at Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on November 2, 2018.

Speaking on the same programme, the DUP's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said that the party's understanding of May's negotiating position represented a betrayal.

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She spoke out after "frank" exchanges with Cabinet Office minister David Lidington on the differences between the Scottish and United Kingdom governments over their approach to exiting the European Union (EU).

It comes after the PM last month told MPs that 95% of the deal had been agreed, with the key sticking point of the "backstop" to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland remaining unresolved.

Mr Varadkar made his remarks at a press conference after today's British-Irish Council meeting on the Isle of Man.

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he still believes a Brexit deal can be done in the coming weeks but warned that "lots of things can go wrong".

"People will need to ask themselves what is it that is going to be in the best interests of those who sent them to Westminster to represent them, to ensure that we maintain living standards and investment and prosperity and employment in our country".

A UK-wide customs deal would maintain quota-free and tariff-free access to European markets for the British fishing industry and in return the EU wants to keep continued access to United Kingdom waters for its trawlers, the newspaper said.

"There is no clean break here, Brexit is going to go on for a very long time".

"Similarly, I don't think the relationship between Scotland and Ireland has ever been stronger than it is at the moment".

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