Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry, has responded to calls for the publication of the Attorney General’s full advice regarding the UK’s future arrangements with the EU, stressing the contents shouldn’t come as some major shock.
Mr Farry, the Alliance Party’s Brexit spokesperson, added the contents shouldn’t be dramatized as MPs should have already understood the nature and purpose of the backstop.
Stephen Farry said: “We are in favour of transparency in politics so have no difficulty with the Attorney-General’s legal advice being published.
“However, MPs should be feigned shock and surprise that the backstop is an open-ended insurance policy.
“The need for a backstop only arises due to the decision of the UK to leave the European Union and the Government ruling out soft Brexit options around a Customs Union and the Single Market. It is the minimum necessary to protect the Good Friday Agreement and to avoid a hard border. The backstop was originally devised as a Northern Ireland only device, but it was the UK Government that sought to extend this.
“It needs to be there until and unless something better comes along. If there is a cut-off date or if it can be unilaterally broken, then the backstop is not a genuine insurance policy.
“The EU continues to be clear that this type of backstop is integral to any Withdrawal Agreement, and it is wishful thinking to believe that a different approach to withdrawal can be taken.
“This reality should have been clear to all MPs before and should be readily understood now.”