British Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatens to lose support of his coalition partner in the Lower House, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland in his negotiations on the exit from the European Union. The Conservative Party of Johnson does not have its own majority in the House of Commons in London, and desperately needs the support of the DUP.
Johnson is negotiating a new customs and VAT treaty for Northern Ireland with the EU, following the UK's departure from the EU. The DUP leadership says it cannot support Johnson's Brexit plan because Northern Ireland will be loosened from Britain. The impending DUP vote against is a major blow to the British Prime Minister, just a few hours before he arrives at the European summit for final discussions on a Brexit agreement in Brussels.
The future status of Northern Ireland is a major stumbling block in the negotiations. The only land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will soon be between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Everyone wants to keep that border open without border controls, but British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants Britain to also leave the customs union with the EU. These two wishes are at odds with each other.
The Northern Irish DUP party also previously opposed the Brexit agreement of the then Prime Minister May. It was voted down three times in parliament. If Johnson succeeds in concluding a new agreement, he must again submit it to the parliamentarians for approval. His Conservative Party, however, has no parliamentary majority.
Meanwhile, the exchange rate of the pound sterling fell by 0.5% against the dollar and the euro within a few minutes of the DUP statement.
Meanwhile, a draft text of the Brexit agreement is ready in Brussels, reports EURACTIV. French President Emmanuel Macron said the Brexit negotiations are in a final phase and he trusts that a deal can be reached this week.
However, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said that the EU leaders may need to meet again later this month to continue the Brexit talks before the October 31 deadline.