10/12/2018

NI Divided Over Backstop As PM Delays Meaningful Vote

Northern Ireland has been left without a clear decision on the Brexit backstop as division remains between the pro-remain parties and the Democratic Unionists.

It comes as the 'meaningful vote' on Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal agreement has been delayed, after it was scheduled to take place on Tuesday 11 December.

Mrs May has been lobbying for her deal, which includes a backstop provision for Northern Ireland, but it's decisive vote in the House of Commons has been called off due to a suspected lack of support.

It is anticipated that the Prime Minister will confirm her intentions to seek further concessions from Brussels in a bid to win over the voices of dissent in her party.

The dramatic development comes as the European Court of Justice ruled that Britain can unilaterally halt the Brexit process by revoking the Article 50 letter that declared its intention to leave the EU.

Mrs May spoke by phone to Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, whose MP's prop up the minority Conservative administration through a confidence and supply deal.
News Image
Mrs Foster said afterwards in a post on Twitter: "My message was clear. The backstop must go. Too much time has been wasted. Need a better deal. Disappointed it has taken so long for Prime Minister to listen."

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's four pro-remain parties have reiterated their position of support for the backstop.

Sinn Fein, the SDLP, Alliance and the Green Party said in a joint statement that they recognise a pressing need for the backstop, and Theresa May's withdrawal agreement, to be banked.

"We continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good Brexit and our preference is for no Brexit at all. We recognise that the majority of people, businesses and civic society do not want Brexit either.

"We have a shared responsibility to protect jobs, economic stability, the environment and people's livelihoods.

"At the very least, this means avoiding a hard border, protecting the Good Friday Agreement and hard won peace of the past twenty years, and staying within the Single Market and a Customs Union.

"By contrast, we believe that a no deal situation would be catastrophic for our economy and society."



(JG/CM)

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

10 April 2019
DUP Slam 'Humiliating' UK Govt Brexit Approach
Deputy leader of the Democratic Unionists Nigel Dodds has branded the current Brexit talks a "humiliating and embarrassing" time for the United Kingdom. Nigel Dodds, who leads the party in Westminster, said the Prime Minister's current talks with the French and German leaders are equal to "holding out a begging bowl" to the EU.
29 April 2003
NI political parties begin election campaigns
Northern Ireland's political parties have begun campaigning ahead of next month's assembly elections at the end of May. Notice of the elections was published in Northern Ireland newspapers on Tuesday. However, lingering doubts remain on whether the polls will still take place because there has been no agreement on a return to power-sharing.
20 January 2014
Govts Could 'Intervene' On Haass
Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore has said the Irish and British governments will intervene if political parties in Northern Ireland fail to reach an agreement on the way forward for flags, parades and the past. The Foreign Minister and Tánaiste was speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics programme.
03 August 2001
McIlroy set for new NI contract
The Irish Football Association is set to offer Northern Ireland international team boss Sammy McIlroy a new two-year contract. Although the international side have lost their last six matches, McIlroy has impressed officials with the way has remoulded the squad.
27 July 2005
Positive 'New Deal' report welcomed by Minister
A programme encouraging unemployed people here to consider self-employment has been most successful according to a report published today. The New Deal Self-employment route was initially introduced by the Department for Employment and Learning in 1998.