From Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Empey:
“Arriving at Westminster this afternoon for the third and final day of the House of Lords debate on Brexit, I was confronted by bewildered Members emerging from the Chamber having learned that the debate will not conclude tonight with a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.
“There were over 180 speakers who put their names forward, many of whom, including myself have already spoken last week. This all means that a future debate on the Agreement will have to start all over again. To say this is grossly discourteous to the House is an understatement.
“What it does say, however is that enormous damage is being done to the United Kingdom, sadly by its own government, and our international standing is being systematically eroded.'
“I was particularly disturbed by the language used by the Prime Minister in announcing the delay of the vote; she doesn't seem to be aware that all the assurances she give to the people of Northern Ireland have proved to be worthless. The ‘guarantees’ contained in Paragraph 50 of last year's Report published on 8th December 2017, that the Northern Ireland Assembly would have a role, have been set aside. The repeated statements about no border in the Irish Sea have been discarded. She doesn't seem to realise that if the rules of the Withdrawal Agreement are followed, the European Court will be the supreme authority for large swathes of Northern Ireland public life, especially our economy. She doesn't recognise that Northern Ireland will be required to treat goods coming from Great Britain as goods coming from 'a third country' in the event of the backstop being operational.
“What the Withdrawal Agreement does, is to confer on Northern Ireland 'special status' which was a demand from Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party from the very start of all of this. It leaves us in constitutional and economic limbo. Far from being the best of both words as some have suggested, it leaves us in the worst of all places, neither fully in the UK economy or out of it, neither fully in the EU economy or fully out of it. What a mess.”