Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said a House of Lords vote to adopt an amendment to the Brexit Bill requiring the Government to negotiate a fresh customs union with the EU is an encouraging step in avoiding a hard border.
Peers voted 348 to 225 in favour of a plan requiring Ministers to report on steps to negotiate a continued EU-UK customs union.
Dr Farry said the cross-party vote was a welcome move, which he believed would have majority support in the House of Commons.
“The creation of a customs union with the EU is one of the key elements in achieving a softer version of Brexit and protecting key elements of the UK economy, including food production and manufacturing. This approach has been advocated across the business community, including by the CBI.
“For us in Northern Ireland, this would be a necessary but sufficient element to avoiding any new borders either across the island or down the Irish Sea. Other measures in terms of regulatory alignment will also be required.
“As Brexit talks continue in a critical phase, the Irish dimension remains the key outstanding issue in finalising a withdrawal agreement. The UK Government has backed itself into a corner with contradictory commitments and unrealistic solutions. This vote now provides the opportunity for a rethink.”