04/01/2019

DUP Slams 'Nonsense Propaganda' About Irish Hard Border

The deputy leader of the DUP, Nigel Dodds, has met with Prime Minister Theresa May to reiterate his party's opposition to the EU Withdrawal Agreement, and hit out at the "nonsense propaganda" surrounding the possibility of a hard border.

The meeting took place on Thursday 03 January and the party's Brexit spokesperson, Sammy Wilson, and MEP Diane Dodds travelled to No. 10 Downing Street along with Mr Dodds to urge the Prime Minister to deliver on her commitments to deal with the controversial backstop.

The provision, included in Theresa May's proposed deal, is a position of last resort that seeks to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal.

The Democratic Unionists currently prop up the Conservative government, and have been outwardly opposed to the backstop.

"The Withdrawal Agreement, as currently proposed, flies in the face of the Government's commitments on Northern Ireland as we leave the EU. Contrary to pro-EU spin, the backstop is not the best of both worlds," the north Belfast MP said in a statement.
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"It is potentially indefinite in time, would place a barrier between us and our main trading partner in Great Britain and give enormous leverage to the European Union in the negotiations on the future relationship with the United Kingdom."

Mr Dodds continued that the Irish Government's no-deal preparations, as published just before Christmas, have exposed the hard border as a mere piece of propaganda.

"No one wants a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Indeed, it is becoming clearer by the day that no one is ever going to construct such a border. With this clarity emerging in London, Dublin and Brussels, there is evidently no need for the aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement which have been so vigorously opposed by a broad cross section of the House of Commons."

The deputy DUP leader pledged to engage in further talks with Mrs May "in the interests of getting a better deal".

"Brussels must now demonstrate that if it truly cares about Northern Ireland, then erecting a new east-west barrier should be no more palatable than having any new north-south barriers," he added.

Northern Ireland's four pro-remain parties, the SDLP, Sinn Fein, Green Party and Alliance have repeatedly stated that their preference is "for no Brexit at all", but have nonetheless outlined the "pressing need" for the backstop, as set out in Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement, to be banked and secured.



(JG/CM)

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