April 20, 2018 / 6:41 AM / in 10 months

Britain says will protect Northern Ireland's place in UK internal market

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it would protect Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market, following a newspaper report that the European Union had rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals for avoiding a hard border in the province.

“We have been clear that we will protect Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market,” said a spokesman for the Department for Exiting the EU.

The spokesman was responding to a report in The Telegraph which, citing EU diplomatic sources, said the EU had comprehensively rejected British proposals for Northern Ireland, casting doubt on the UK’s ability to leave the customs union.

It said May’s proposals were subjected to a “systematic and forensic annihilation” this week at a meeting between senior EU officials and Olly Robbins, the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator. (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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