Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA, has said that to avoid a hugely damaging no deal outcome a solution is required to the backstop.
Robin Swann MLA said:
“A no deal outcome could be hugely damaging, not only to the UK, but also to the Republic of Ireland and their EU partners. The only way to avoid such a damaging outcome is to fix the backstop, as it is clear that is the only way a deal can get through Parliament. Continued intransigence will lead to the worst of all outcomes.
“We raised enormous concerns about the backstop from the outset, and many others in Parliament now also share these concerns. This has to be recognised by the European Union and the Irish Government. If we are to move forward positively, it cannot continue to be the case that pro-union concerns about the corruption of the Belfast Agreement are just brushed off.
“We understand the EU’s need to protect the integrity of the Single Market, but we also share concerns about the damage that would be caused by a border up the middle of the Irish Sea as much as the implications of a hard border across the island of Ireland. The fact remains that the geography and history of these islands means that any solution will have to recognise this, and that requires intransigence to be replaced by pragmatism.
“The Belfast Agreement and all its institutions were hard won and my party knows that more than most of those who now seek to cling to it. If the Irish Government continues to pursue the backstop, which is so problematic, it will hugely damage trust and relationships with unionists who deserve and are obliged to have just as much protection from the Agreement as the nationalist population.“Time is short, but with good will a solution can be found. We have seen it before when the Common Travel Area saw the Republic of Ireland opt out of Schengen. We can see a similar arrangement found for goods that prevents any new and unwanted barriers being created anywhere on these islands.”