Parliament rejection of Customs Union & Single Market means special deal for NI now required

Alliance Party Deputy Leader and Brexit Spokesperson, Stephen Farry MLA, has expressed his disappointment at the House of Commons voting against the Customs Union and the European Economic Area (Single Market) and highlighted the lack of logic in the official Labour and DUP positions.

Stephen Farry said: “Over the past two days, the House of Commons has squandered a precious opportunity to change the course of Brexit, UK-wide, in favour of a softer approach based around a Customs Union and Single Market.

“This approach would have been one route to avoiding a hard border in Ireland. This seems to continue to be a core objective of the UK Government though they are consistently ruling out the type of measures required to deliver upon that commitment. Instead, the only viable approach to avoiding such a border would be a special deal for Northern Ireland.

“The DUP played a key role in undermining a soft Brexit and acted contrary to the economic interests and political cohesion of Northern Ireland. They have set their face against the EU’s backstop, but through their actions they have made it more likely.

“It was also disappointing that the Labour frontbench abstained on the EEA amendment and doomed it to failure. In doing so, they failed to support jobs across UK. The Labour Leader was also very disingenuous in arguing EEA is not compatible with a Customs Union – you can do both, and that claiming that the EEA doesn’t avoid a border in Ireland – it Certainly helps.

“Alliance has been consistent in advocating that if soft Brexit UK-wide is not possible, then Northern Ireland must have a special deal. Any such arrangement would be a pragmatic response consistent with the Good Friday Agreement and the Principle of Consent.”

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