Blow for Johnson as DUP highlights obstacles to Brexit deal

Boris Johnson has been dealt a major blow shortly before the crunch EU summit after Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said she could not yet back his Brexit plans.

The Prime Minister is hoping to bring back a deal from the Brussels meeting of European leaders while winning the backing of the DUP, which also wields influence over some Tory Brexiteers.

But Ms Foster and her deputy, Nigel Dodds, released a joint statement hours before the summit was due to begin on Thursday, highlighting three major obstacles.

"As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues, and there is a lack of clarity on VAT," they said.

"We will continue to work with the Government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom."

Mr Johnson has been in close and continued contact with the pair as he tries to shore up their support ahead of Saturday's key deadline to prevent a delay to Brexit.

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