Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA has stated that the Withdrawal Agreement needs taken off the table and any alternatives must be UK-wide in their entirety.
Robin Swann MLA said:
“The draft Withdrawal Agreement fundamentally undermines the integrity of the United Kingdom and transfers Northern Ireland into constitutional limbo – nominally part of the UK, but subject to EU rules and regulations over which we have no control, leading to longer term uncertainty and instability.
“This is something that we warned of last December and again in March when we wrote to the Prime Minister. Regrettably the strong words defending and promoting the Union from the Secretary of State didn`t match with the words of the final agreement between the Government and the EU. The EU knew that they had the UK over a barrel as soon as the Government agreed to the inclusion of the disastrous backstop in last December`s agreement. And despite Arlene Foster claiming last December that ‘Northern Ireland will not be separated constitutionally, politically, economically or regulatory from the rest of the United Kingdom’, that is what is on the table. It needs to be taken off the table and Government negotiators sent back to the drawing board. If the backstop had been halted last December when the opportunity was there, we wouldn`t be in the mess we are now.
“We have already called on the Prime Minister to make plans for the extension of Article 50, if need be, to allow room for further negotiations in an attempt to broker a better deal rather than risk the future of the Union for the sake of meeting a deadline. Neither can we countenance a no-deal option which would have potentially dire consequences for Northern Ireland. We will look at alternatives and assess their merits, but the bottom line for the Ulster Unionist Party is that any solution must be UK-wide in its entirety.”