The Yorkshire Post says: With Northern Ireland in the mix, a Brexit trade deal is a near impossible tightrope

There has been much talk about the financial cost of Brexit to the UK in recent weeks with the so-called '˜divorce settlement' with the EU reportedly due to run into tens of billions of pounds.

Theresa May shaking hands with Claude Juncker

But now the vexed question of the Irish border is beginning to make clear just how high the political costs could be.

The issue has been a key sticking point in preventing negotiations with the EU moving on to future trade arrangements and reports yesterday morning suggested the UK would agree to “regulatory alignment” between north and south, potentially allowing Ireland and Northern Ireland to follow the same rules governing trade, and thus ensure goods continue to move freely across a “soft” border with no checks.

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But within hours, the ramifications of pursuing such a strategy became abundantly clear. Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party which props up Theresa May’s minority Conservative Government, said quite simply her party would not accept any deal which separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

The idea of regulatory alignment in Ireland received a very different reaction from Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan, with the pair separately suggesting Remain-voting Scotland and London should be offered a similar deal. First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones also said his nation would expect the same offer.

The excruciating political quandary means the border issue must be resolved in a way which somehow allows trade talks with the EU to begin, does not threaten the hard-won peace process in Ireland, addresses whether other parts of the UK should be allowed similar special treatment and maintains the minority Government in Westminster.

It appears a near-impossible tightrope for the Prime Minister to walk; but the consequences of failure throw up all manner of alarming repercussions.