Commenting on the ongoing analysis of the DUP U-turn on a border in the Irish Sea, Ulster Unionist Party Peer, Lord Empey said:
“One of the key arguments for the UK leaving the European Union was the opportunity to do new trade deals with the rest of the world. Such deals, it was claimed, would give us a chance to grow and become, as some said, the Singapore of the west!
“Well, Arlene ‘two borders’ Foster has put paid to that. Under her plan, Great Britain will be able to do such deals, whether with President Trump or whoever, but Northern Ireland will be excluded as we will remain in and governed by the rules of the EU single market and ruled by the EU Courts, another red line that the DUP has broken.
“I believe that those in Northern Ireland who voted to leave the EU never imagined that goods coming from Scotland, England and Wales would have to be checked BEFORE they came into Northern Ireland; they never foresaw and were promised no border in the Irish Sea.
“To emphasise how far the DUP has gone back on their word, I refer to paragraph 9 of the Governments 'Explanatory Note. It states: 'To support the system of controls at the boundary of the zone of regulatory compliance (the island of Ireland), traders moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland need to notify the relevant authorities before entering Northern Ireland, in order to provide the necessary information to undertake the appropriate checks, and , where appropriate, prevent the entry of products prohibited or restricted by EU rules.’
“If that doesn't tell you that we are being asked to treat goods coming from Great Britain as if it is a third country I don't know what would. It’s a ghastly deal, and I am still unable to understand how any unionist could be advocating such measures.
“The so called 'democratic consent' proposal, that the Assembly would have to agree every four years to these proposals, will be watered down to consultation. But worse, the long term effects of these proposals will be to align the Northern Ireland economy to the Dublin economy and we will diverge over time from the GB economy. Where, from a unionist perspective, does that lead us?”