Time to bank the backstop, says Farry

A hard border after Brexit will only be avoided through sufficient north-south customs and regulatory alignment, Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said.

Dr Farry was speaking after the UK Government claimed it had secured changes to the proposed Withdrawal Agreement.

“These further UK and EU agreements are clarification of what has already been agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement, and a reinforcement of the use of good faith endeavours to find a way forward that doesn’t see the backstop invoked.

“To an extent, the EU is indulging the exploration of a wide range of alternative arrangements, but the bottom line continues to be the only means to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland is to have sufficient customs and regulatory alignment north and south. This can be achieved either through the entire UK remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market, or Northern Ireland alone.

“The best way forward on Brexit is a People’s Vote. The backstop is the bare minimum. At the very least, it is now vital to bank the backstop and to avoid a no deal outcome. The backstop is not a burden to Northern Ireland. It is no threat to the Principle of Consent and provides a basis to assist the local economy and maintain political cohesion.”
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