DUP and Conservative MPs call for May to ditch the backstop

Conservative MPs Owen Paterson and Iain Duncan Smith have been in Brussels today where they spoke to the European Union’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and continued pushing for the backstop to be ditched.

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After the meeting, DUP Leader Arlene Foster insisted that “we should have already left” whilst calling for Theresa May “to look at the alternative arrangements to the backstop”.

“She should come out here very strongly and say ‘the backstop is the issue, so let’s deal with it’,” Foster told Sky News.

Foster followed up a tweet that said: “Useful meeting with Michel Barnier. Important that Brussels understands why unionism rejects the WA. A new barrier between NI & the rest of UK is unacceptable. We want a deal which respects the referendum result and protects the Union.”

The DUP also highlighted comments by their Westminster Leader, Nigel Dodds, who has pointed out that: “People are frustrated that in a no deal there will be no hard border, but there is insistence upon a backstop which could bring about the conditions they say they wish to avoid.”

Writing after the meeting in Brussels today, Tory MP Owen Paterson said: “Robust but constructive discussions with Michel Barnier, Weyand Sabine, Arlene Foster, Diane Dodds, Hans Maessen and Iain Duncan Smith on how Alternative Arrangements can guarantee a seamless NI/RoI border by replacing the backstop or in the event of a WTO Deal with side agreements.”

The tragedy is May has seemingly given up on trying to remove the backstop and is now instead focusing on getting a stitch-up deal over the line, helped by the Labour Party. No wonder polls now have the Conservatives in freefall as another Brexit delay looks set to go on for months.