LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom as a whole needs to take back control of its borders, laws and cash when it leaves the European Union, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday.
His remarks follow the insistence this week by the Northern Irish unionist DUP party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government that the region should not be treated any differently from the rest of Britain in Brexit talks.
“Whatever way we devise for getting onto the body of the (Brexit) talks, it’s got to be consistent with the whole of the United Kingdom taking back control of our laws, of our borders and of our cash,” Johnson told reporters after a speech.
A tentative deal on the Irish border, which is required if Brexit talks are to move to the next phase, was agreed with Dublin’s blessing on Monday.
But that deal was scuppered by the DUP which rejected what it saw as separate treatment for Northern Ireland.
Britain is aiming to agree with the EU on Dec. 14 to move Brexit talks into the next phase that would focus on trade and a two-year transition deal to smooth the UK’s departure after March 2019.
British government ministers have big differences over what Brexit should mean for Britain, and over the extent of concessions it should offer in return for preferential access to EU markets.
Johnson, asked if he could understand why people who voted for Brexit might feel betrayed by Britain paying large sums of money to the EU in a divorce bill, said the question was “absolutely right”.
On Wednesday, chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond told lawmakers that ministers had yet to agree what they want from a final Brexit deal.
Reporting by William James, Alistair Smout and Costas Pitas, writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Andy Bruce; editing by Stephen Addison