UK plans to give Northern Ireland joint UK, EU status

Cecilia Malmström

The top DUP official described this as a "red line" and said the ruling government would lose the support of her party's ten MPs, which could also hinder the government in passing legislation unrelated to Brexit.

The "buffer zone" proposal is understood to be under consideration as a potential way of breaking the deadlock over future customs arrangements ahead of a crunch summit of European Union leaders on June 28-29.

Responding to reports of Mrs May's time-limited backstop, a senior European Union official told Politico: 'It would be a very, very complicated thing to negotiate.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: "The PSNI has a responsibility to keep people safe and we constantly review our resources to ensure that we are best equipped to do this".

The source acknowledged it would be a challenge to secure backing for the plan from the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May's Government at Westminster and has made clear that it does not want Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.

The land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been a contentious issue in the wake of the UK's historic decision in June 2016.

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Theresa May's latest attempt to break the Brexit deadlock hasn't impressed the EU. However, finding a practical solution for any customs checks needed after Brexit has proved elusive.

"The UK Government must urgently clarify its position and guarantee that Scotland will not lose out".

The official who spoke to Reuters said the dual-regulatory proposal was inspired by Liechtenstein, which is able to trade on equal terms with both Switzerland and the EU.

The new proposal would create a special economic zone that would allow traders who constitute 90 percent of cross-border traffic to operate under the same rules as those south of the border, according to The Sun newspaper, which first reported that the idea was being considered. "We await written proposals from the British side".

European Union officials are warning time is running out to seal a Brexit deal this year because there has been not enough progress in negotiations and have criticized May for not setting out how the United Kingdom would achieve a friction-less border with the European Union without erecting a land border on the island of Ireland.

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