Ulster Unionist leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has stated that Unionism can`t afford any more strategic mistakes.
Mr Aiken said:
“An economic and regulatory border in the Irish Sea is nothing to celebrate for Unionists in Northern Ireland no matter what side of the EU referendum debate you were on. Even the most ardent of Brexiteers in Northern Ireland have real and genuine concerns about the future because of Boris Johnson`s woeful Brexit deal. It`s certainly not what they were sold. Great Britain will be moving on with Northern Ireland dumped into an EU-UK limbo land. The question is where do we go from here?
“Unionism can`t afford any more strategic mistakes. Crossing our fingers and hoping it`ll be alright on the night with Boris Johnson at the helm, having gone back on so many previous commitments, is not a strategy that will deliver confidence and stability. Northern Ireland and the Union itself have already sustained enough collateral damage in the pursuit of an ideologically pure Brexit.
“Instead we need to focus on how we go about curbing the worst excesses of Boris Johnson`s Withdrawal Agreement to protect our trading links with our biggest market in Great Britain, grow our economy in the future and strengthen the Union. We have to sell our case within Northern Ireland and across the rest of the United Kingdom.
“Northern Ireland craves certainty and stability. We need be able to plan for the future, but we can`t do that while we continue to stare into the unknown with scant and contradictory information coming from the Government. The Government has a responsibility to provide answers and Northern Ireland should be at the forefront of their minds in the next few weeks as we move into the next stage of negotiations. I hope they have the genuine will to do it.”