14/01/2019

UUP Call For Legal Changes To PM's Deal

The leader of the Ulster Unionists has branded the assurances extended by the EU to the UK over the Brexit backstop as "worthless", unless they are followed by changes to the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement.

It follows Prime Minister Theresa May's plea to MP's to support the deal in tomorrow's vote, which she based on a letter from EU officials containing assurances that the Northern Ireland backstop would merely be a temporary measure, if activated.
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Robin Swann MLA said: "Today's exchange between the Prime Minister and the EU Commission doesn't really move us on. We can continue exchanging letters of assurance and clarification between now and the 29th March, but only changes to the legal text will truly allay concerns.

"The fact is that the backstop would have implications for Northern Ireland and United Kingdom far beyond the time in which the signatories of these letters have left office. It is difficult to go forward in good faith when such assurances are not necessarily in the gift of those offering them at this time.

"The only document that will stand the test of time is the legal text within the Withdrawal Agreement. While some of the assurances may be a step in the right direction in acknowledging the problems thrown up by the backstop, without legal standing they are not worth the paper they are written on."



(JG/CM)

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