DUP 'prepared to vote against Budget' if Brexit red lines breached

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier shake hands during a joint news conference in Brussels Belgium

The Democratic Unionists have cast fresh doubt on the Theresa May's ability to get a Brexit deal through parliament after the party insisted that any plans for the Irish border had to meet its "blood red" line on no new barriers to trade with the rest of the UK.

Party leader Arlene Foster has made clear that any Brexit deal in which Northern Ireland is treated separately to the rest of the United Kingdom or faces extra checks along the border with Ireland would be unacceptable to her party and that this is a "blood red line".

It raises the prospect that Philip Hammond's Budget could be defeated on October 29, putting the Prime Minister's future in jeopardy.

If 40 of her lawmakers voted against a possible deal, the fate of the government and exit process would depend on the opposition Labour Party, which has indicated it will vote against nearly any deal May might secure.

At his latest appearance in parliament, where divisions over how to leave the European Union were on display, Raab moved to downplay one of the thorniest parts of the talks - a so-called backstop arrangement to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

"If we followed Mr Barnier's advice, my information is that those checks would become 100%, although with a veterinary agreement in a future trade deal, that might be reduced somewhat", she said.

The prime minister has strongly rejected the Barnier plan.

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One DUP source told Newsnight: "If we are not happy with what happens next week [in Brussels] we won't be bounced into anything".

Without a deal the United Kingdom would move from seamless trade with the European Union to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states.

There have been warnings that a new "hard border" will damage businesses and undermine peace in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, 86 per cent of Leave voters believe Scottish independence would be acceptable if meant securing the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury, told the BBC the government had a "very strong position" that there would be "no border down the Irish Sea". But one of the most hard obstacles to securing the so-called withdrawal agreement, the Irish border, has yet to be resolved.

But the DUP fears that a two-part Brexit deal is emerging that would breach its "nuclear" red line.

"It's not just a case of regulations between Northern Ireland and GB, it's also between GB and Northern Ireland".

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