London, Apr 11: DUP leader Arlene Foster has accused the EU of ignoring the views of unionists in Northern Ireland. The DUP leader was speaking ahead of a meeting with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, according to a BBC News report. Mrs Foster also repeated her criticism of the prime minster, saying Theresa May was trying "to force people into a cul-de-sac" to support her Brexit deal. On Thursday morning Brexit was delayed again after the UK and the EU agreed a "flexible extension" until 31 October. Mrs Foster said Mrs May's approach was "weak" and "demeans the strength of this great nation". The BBC understands the DUP will be accompanied by Conservative MPs Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Patterson.
Mr Patterson is a former Northern Ireland secretary. Both men are Brexiteers and both have criticised the prime minister's decision to enter talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a way forward on how the UK will leave the EU. Speaking to BBC News Northern Ireland, Mrs Foster said the meeting would be a "useful opportunity" to "set out why we oppose the Withdrawal Agreement".
She will also be accompanied by the DUP's MEP Diane Dodds, who she confirmed had been ratified by the party to fight the European elections if the UK takes part. Mrs Foster said she wanted to see a "sensible deal which works for every part of the UK and respects the referendum result". She said she will outline alternatives to the backstop proposal contained in the Withdrawal Agreement to Mr Barnier.
The backstop is an insurance policy - designed to avoid a hard border "under all circumstances" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. If the UK leaves the customs union and the single market that could mean goods would have to be checked as they crossed the frontier. It would keep the UK in a "single customs territory" with the EU, and leave Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods. (UNI)