European Union officials warned to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Neither side has indicated there has been a deal on the Irish backstop.

This, however, would raise the prospect of increased regulation checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told the BBC that his party "have got to see the text, we've got to be happy with the text" of any agreement on Northern Ireland.

In the first sign of a crack in the government, the DUP abstained on a Labour amendment to the Agriculture Bil on Wednesday.

Losing the party's support in the House of Commons would mean possible defeat on the budget and a no-confidence vote. But after meetings in Brussels, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which props up the minority Conservative government in parliament, has issued a series of terse warnings to May.

For industrial goods, he said it could be done by "market surveillance authorities" in company premises but he added that checks on animals and animal-derived products would still have to take place on the border.

British and European Union negotiators are understood to have agreed in principle to an all-UK backstop plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland that would remove the final major obstacle blocking a withdrawal agreement.

The right-wing, pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is against any Brexit plan that will divide the province from the rest of the United Kingdom with a sea border or customs checks.

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Mr Barnier said checks would be carried out "in the least intrusive way possible", adding: "I understand why such procedures are politically sensitive but".

Reaching out to Labour and other parties, she said: "When we come back with a deal, I would hope that everybody across the whole House will put the national interest first and not only look at a good deal for the future of the United Kingdom, but remember that having given the decision on whether we stay in the European Union to the British people, and the British people having voted to leave, it is our duty to ensure that we leave". There remain big issues to work through and, as the PM has said, this will require movement on the European Union side.

The DUP issued the threat by briefing broadcasters.

On Wednesday night, DUP MPs abstained on a piece of agricultural legislation on which they had been expected to back the government, in a message to Prime Minister May that they are not bluffing.

A DUP MP has told Sky News the party is not afraid of potentially triggering a general election by voting against the Budget.

The situation I speculatively outlined yesterday - May being forced to choose between a deal and the DUP - appears to have arrived already.

The DUP was last night backed by leading Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Steve Baker.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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