DUP leader Foster says Irish backstop unacceptable but wants sensible Brexit deal

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster and DUP member Diane Dodds hold a news conference after a meeting with EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels

LONDON (Reuters) - The leader of the Northern Irish party which backs Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government said an Irish backstop in a Brexit deal would be unacceptable but she hoped a sensible agreement could be found.

The backstop was part of the withdrawal agreement, rejected three times by the British parliament, aiming to ensure there was no return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Britain leaves the European Union and before a new trade agreement was struck.

"The backstop leaves us in a separate customs union from the rest of the United Kingdom, leaves us taking rules and regulations from the European Union without any democratic say in those rules and regulations, so that is unacceptable," Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, told Sky News.

"I think what we want to do is to find a sensible deal, a way forward that recognises our unique history and geography."

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)