13:46 GMT +323 May 2019
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    A Brexit sign is seen between Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and Londonderry in Northern Ireland at the border village of Muff, Ireland, February 1, 2018. Picture taken February 1, 2018.

    UK DUP Party Not Planning to Back Gov't’s Withdrawal Deal in Parliamentary Vote

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the coalition partner of the United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative Party, said it would not back the Brexit agreement, negotiated by the government and the European Union, in a parliamentary vote.

    "Given the fact that the necessary changes we seek to the backstop have not been secured between the Government and the European Union, and the remaining and ongoing strategic risk that Northern Ireland would be trapped in backstop arrangements at the end of the implementation period, we will not be supporting the Government if they table a fresh meaningful vote," the DUP said in statement late on Wednesday.

    The party noted that it had discussed the need to maintain the United Kingdom's economic and constitutional integrity after Brexit with the government.

    The DUP suggested that the backstop arrangement, agreed upon by London and Brussels, might lead to a hard border established on the island of Ireland, cutting Northern Ireland from its main market, which is the United Kingdom.

    READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: UK Lawmakers Vote on 8 Indicative Brexit Options

    The DUP's statement has provoked speculations on whether the party would abstain from the vote on the divorce deal.

    Nigel Dodds, the DUP deputy leader, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the party members "do not abstain on the Union."

    The statement comes shortly after May promised to resign if her fellow Conservative lawmakers back the withdrawal deal.

    Earlier in the day, UK lawmakers rejected all eight alternative Brexit options, including the one envisioning the UK withdrawal from the European Union without a deal on April 12.

    The no-deal scenario was defeated in a 160-400 vote in an indicative vote late on Wednesday.

    The deal was agreed by the European Union and the United Kingdom last year and the United Kingdom was supposed to leave the bloc as soon as on March 29. However, UK lawmakers have failed to adopt the agreement, which sparked speculations about the possible no-deal withdrawal.

    READ MORE: Donald Tusk Urges European MEPs to Back 6m Remainers, Petitioners Against Brexit

    Other Brexit options, also rejected by the parliamentarians, include the United Kingdom's continued participation in the EU single market; forming an EU-UK free trade area; establishing a customs union; establishing more close trade relations, including a customs union and alignment with the EU single market; revoking Brexit; carrying out a public vote on the Brexit deal before its ratification by the lawmakers; and agreeing on special trade arrangements.

    Last week, the European Council approved the Brexit deadline extension, requested by UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Under the arrangement, the withdrawal would be delayed until May 22, if the divorce deal is approved by lawmakers by the end of this week; or until April 12, if the deal is not passed this week.

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