South Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken has re-iterated his party’s position that the Backstop is incompatible with the Belfast Agreement and in particular, the principle of consent.
Steve Aiken MLA said:
“Since the Backstop was first mentioned in December 2017, the Ulster Unionist Party has consistently warned that it breached the Belfast Agreement.
“A number of individuals and organisations have sought to invoke the Belfast Agreement in subsequent debates and discussions, not least last night when the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford decided to wade into the debate and recklessly and incorrectly claim that the Prime Minister has ‘ripped up the Good Friday Agreement.’
“Let me be absolutely clear. The Ulster Unionist Party will take no lessons from anyone when it comes to the Belfast Agreement. We negotiated it so we are well placed to know what it says. Of key importance to unionism was the principle of consent being enshrined in the Belfast Agreement.
“That means that there can be no change to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland without the express consent of the majority of people in Northern Ireland. It is a crucial part of the Belfast Agreement and the Backstop quite clearly breaches it.
“Even a cursory reading of Lord Bew’s recent intervention, makes this point abundantly clear.
“Anyone who understands the Belfast Agreement knows full well that the Backstop is incompatible with it and the Government needs to make this point loud and clear.
“It should also be noted that SNP exists to end the Union between the United Kingdom and Scotland. Anyone who values the Union would therefore be wise to be highly sceptical of anything the SNP does or says when it comes to defending the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.”