The DUP is not prepared to take no-deal off the table, Jeffrey Donaldson MP has said.
“We want to leave with a deal, but we’re not going to vote to take no-deal off the table,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
“Every time we have voted against it. It is the strongest lever that the UK government has in negotiations, it is their strongest bargaining chip.”
He said that the DUP wants to leave the EU with a deal and that it is a matter for the EU to meet the concerns of the UK with regard to the backstop.
“We believe the wishes of the UK parliament must be met. We will not prevent Brexit from happening, we want to leave with a deal.”
Mr Donaldson said he knew “it is the greatest desire of Dublin to ignore the reality coming down the tracks.”
He added that it was vital that the Irish and UK governments and the EU work together to find a solution.
“I’m going to focus on getting an agreement. That’s where all our efforts will be focused.”
He said he was aware of the consequences of a no-deal exit for the Northern Ireland economy and for the Republic too.
“It is down to all the governments involved to be pragmatic and to vote in a way that protects the Good Friday Agreement and to avoid a hard border.
“Let’s work towards trying to achieve that.”