THE DUP has accused Boris Johnson of losing his nerve and striking a bad Brexit deal in a desperate bid to avoid an extension.

Deputy leader Nigel Dodds said Johnson had been “too eager by far” to come to an accommodation “at any cost” with the EU.

His comments came as DUP leader Arlene Foster accused London, Brussels and Dublin of turning their back on powersharing arrangements that form the cornerstone of the Good Friday/Belfast peace agreement.

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Dodds said: “The Benn Act has forced Boris Johnson into somewhat of desperation measures in order to avoid trying to get an extension.

“He has been too eager by far to get a deal at any cost, and the fact of the matter is, if he held his nerve and held out he would, of course, have got better concessions that kept the integrity, both economic and constitutionally, of the UK.”

Foster said the agreement created several economic borders down the Irish Sea, which separated Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

“This gives us a border in the Irish Sea in terms of VAT, in terms of customs and in terms of single market rules, without any consent that is meaningful for the people of Northern Ireland,” she said.

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The party leader said allowing Stormont to vote on retaining the arrangements on the basis of a straight majority vote, rather than using a peace process mechanism that requires a majority of unionists and nationalists, undermined the principle of powersharing. “For the first time in 21 years we are moving away from powersharing, we are moving away from the majority of unionism and the majority of nationalists, we are moving to single majority vote,” she said.

Foster said it would represent a fundamental change to the 1998 Northern Ireland Act that enshrined the peace treaty. “If we are going down this route in terms of majority rule, what does that mean for devolution?” she asked.

“What does it mean for the return of devolution, and all those things will have to be taken into account.”

She added: “All of that together makes this deal unacceptable for us as guardians of Northern Ireland in terms of the economy and in terms of the constitution.”