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Agreeing to the backstop was a huge strategic error - Nicholson

Ulster Unionist MEP, Jim Nicholson, has stated that the draft withdrawal agreement makes for grim reading and fails to protect the interests of the United Kingdom and its people.

Jim Nicholson MEP said:

“Things just didn`t start going wrong for the Prime Minister on publication of the draft agreement on Wednesday, this started last December when the Government signed up to the disastrous backstop - a huge strategic error. We have repeatedly warned that the backstop would come back to haunt us and unfortunately so it has. At the time, we wrote to the Prime Minister outlining our serious concerns about the implications of the text on the constitutional integrity of the UK and democratic decision making in Northern Ireland.

“The Government were hoodwinked by the EU, and the DUP bought the December agreement hook, line and sinker too.

“Instead of demanding and scrutinising meaningful legal advice regarding the potential implications of the backstop, the DUP and Arlene Foster instead chose to boast of commitments they had supposedly secured and ultimately welcomed the December agreement. Mrs Foster said that at the time, ‘Northern Ireland will not be separated constitutionally, politically, economically or regulatory from the rest of the United Kingdom.’

“In the months that have passed since then, the DUP have repeatedly stated that they hold great influence at the heart of Government and would use it to protect the Union and its people, including on Brexit specifically. They failed in their primary duty – to protect the Union. The influence they claimed they had has either been misused or ignored.

“The Prime Minister now owes an explanation to the people of Northern Ireland why she has signed up to a deal which contains  proposals that aren`t very different from the March version of the backstop which Mrs May said at the time no British Prime Minister could sign up to? This draft withdrawal agreement makes for grim reading.”

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