May Offers Hint on Strategy to Keep DUP on Board Brexit Train

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May reassured her Northern Irish allies that the future shape of the nation’s relationship with the European Union will be clear when she agrees divorce terms with the bloc, as she sought to stop them abandoning her.

Answering a parliamentary question from the Democratic Unionist Party’s Nigel Dodds on Wednesday in London, she said it’s important “to me” that there is linkage between the withdrawal agreement and the future relationship.

“I have always said when we bring the withdrawal agreement back, there is a package,” May said. “It’s important members are able to look at the withdrawal agreement, but have sufficient detail on the future relationship in all its aspects.”

Dodds said without “pretty clear assurances and some precision about the future trading agreement,” it would be hard for parliament to back the withdrawal agreement. A very clear pledge by the EU on the future relationship -- centering around friction-free trade -- could reassure the DUP that the EU’s so-called backstop to avoid a hard border may never have to be used.

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