Alliance: Backstop Protects The Good Friday Agreement

As Prime Minister Theresa May fights to gain Parliament support for her Withdrawal Agreement, Northern Ireland's Alliance Party has issued an assurance that the backstop it contains will protect the Good Friday Agreement.

Deputy Leader and Brexit spokesperson for the party, Stephen Farry MLA was speaking after the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox published his full legal advice regarding the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

Despite strong opposition from the Democratic Unionists, Mr Farry claimed that MPs should have already been well aware of the nature of the backstop.

"No one in Parliament should really be surprised or shocked at the legal advice on the backstop. Its nature and purpose should have been evident to anyone following the negotiations over the past 18 months.
News Image
"The need for a backstop only arises due to the decision of the UK to leave the EU and the Government ruling out soft Brexit options around a Customs Union and the Single Market. Northern Ireland only works on the basis of sharing and interdependence. People and businesses work on the basis of both north-south and east-west interactions. Brexit risks new friction and barriers."

Mr Farry also said the backstop is the minimum arrangement required to prevent a hard border and protect the Good Friday Agreement, and should only be there until a better alternative is reached.

"The EU continues to be clear this type of backstop is integral to any Withdrawal Agreement, and it is wishful thinking to believe a different approach to withdrawal can be taken. It was originally devised to cover Northern Ireland only, but it was the Government that sought to extend this UK-wide.

"It does not interfere or undermine Northern Ireland's constitutional position and the Principle of Consent. Indeed, it may create some comparative economic advantages for this region. This reality should have been clear to all MPs before and should be readily understood now."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 February 2018
PM Rejects Plan To Keep NI In Customs Union
Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected the European Union's (EU) plan to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union. Speaking in the House of Commons she said that "no UK prime minister could ever agree" to the EU's draft legal agreement. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the "backstop" option is not intended to "provoke" the UK.
19 February 2018
Northern Ireland To Play Israel At Windsor Park
Northern Ireland are to play against Israel in a friendly international on Tuesday, 11 September. The match will take place at Windsor Park at 7.45pm. The game comes three days after Northern Ireland play Bosnia and Herzegovina in the UEFA Nations League at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.
10 April 2013
Cameron Hails Good Friday Agreement
Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the Good Friday Agreement to mark the 15th anniversary of the power-sharing deal. "I have no doubt that the Agreement was a truly momentous event in the history of Northern Ireland," he said.
21 October 2003
NI elections to take place in November
New assembly elections for Northern Ireland are set to take place on November 26, the Government confirmed today. The announcement came following intensive negotiations between Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams as well as both the British and the Irish governments.
16 May 2006
Children's park named in honour of Mo Mowlam
A children's park within the grounds of the Stormont estate has today been named after former Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam. Ms Mowlam, was one of the most popular and respected NI Secretary's during the her time in office between 1997 and 1999. She died in August last year after a lengthy illness at the age of 55.