Northern Ireland

Brexit backstop: No deal better than bad deal says Dodds

Nigel Dodds Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Nigel Dodds reiterated that the DUP wants to see legally binding changes to the Brexit backstop

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has reiterated that the party wants to see legally binding changes to the Brexit backstop.

Mr Dodds was speaking at a meeting of party members in Omagh on Saturday.

He said the DUP wants a Brexit deal but only if it is the right deal.

The backstop is an insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border "under all circumstances" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit.

"We want a Brexit deal, but we are very clear that a no deal is better than a bad deal," Mr Dodds said.

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He added that there is "virtual unanimity in political unionism" that the current backstop is dangerous for the union.

Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to renegotiate the backstop after MPs voted to replace it with "alternative arrangements" earlier this month.

Some MPs fear the backstop will see the UK tied to EU customs rules in the long-term.

On Thursday, a government motion calling for MPs to back its renegotiating strategy was defeated by 303 to 258, with 66 Tory MPs abstaining.

The EU has consistently ruled out changes to the backstop.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on Friday 29 March.

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