Brexit minister Raab denies Northern Ireland's DUP have whip hand in Brexit talks

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab arrives in Downing Street, London, September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - UK Brexit minister Dominic Raab denied on Wednesday that the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which supports the Conservative government had the “whip hand” in talks to unblock an impasse with the European Union over the Irish border.

“Suggesting that the DUP hold the whip hand over the negotiations I don’t think is accurate or fair,” Raab told LBC radio.

The DUP has strongly resisted any suggestion that there may need to be regulatory divergence between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after Brexit, with leader Arlene Foster saying it was a “blood red” line.

Raab said there needed to be a solution that would protect the integrity of the United Kingdom and avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and EU member the Republic of Ireland, adding that Britain would work on technological solutions to avoid such a border.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison