Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the DUP is not “defending or representing” Northern Ireland after the party criticised a potential Brexit backstop.
Dr Farry was speaking after Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to DUP leader Arlene Foster around the backstop, which the DUP reacted angrily to.
“There is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit. The UK Government is tying itself up in knots trying to avoid facing up to the contradictions of its redlines. The DUP is making a massive mistake in dramatising the backstop as a threat to the union, and manufacturing a betrayal narrative. We need cool heads and a rational consideration of what is in Northern Ireland’s interest, including economic prosperity and political stability,” he said.
“The backstop only arises due to the determination of some to leave the EU, and to rule out the whole UK having a fresh Customs Union and staying in the Single Market. We would welcome anyone reconsidering the illogic of their position.
“But to get a Withdrawal Agreement now, and to avoid a catastrophic no deal outcome, the backstop needs to be agreed. It is only a safety-net to protect the Good Friday Agreement and to avoid a hard border in all circumstances. It may never need to come into effect, but like any insurance policy, it needs to be there. The UK Government needs to be clear in abiding by the terms of the Joint Report regarding the backstop being open-ended and all-weather.
“The possibility of additional checks down the Irish Sea needs to be de-dramatised. They are not a threat or change in the constitutional position. Some checks already take place and Northern Ireland already does many things differently. The majority of people in Northern Ireland see the backstop in pragmatic terms as do most business. The DUP position is neither defending nor representing Northern Ireland.”