Speech by Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson to the European Parliament

Ulster Unionist Party MEP Jim Nicholson has delivered what could potentially have been his last speech to the European Parliament – a body to which he has been elected to for the last 30 years. 


I said at the beginning this would go down to the wire, and beyond, and I was not disappointed.

I also said at the very beginning that the people that I represent, would never accept a border in the Irish Sea, and that still stands, Mr Barnier - I hope you are listening.

And I have to say, the backstop would unravel the fabric of the Belfast Agreement - an International Agreement - which many in this place champion but wilfully forget the Principle of Consent within that Agreement.

I have to say there is a need to listen to everyone in Northern Ireland. Not just those who shout the loudest. There is a quiet majority of people in Northern Ireland who want a good way forward for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and indeed the European Union.

We have got to move away from the positions of remainer and leavers of the past and find a better future to which we can work within.

I am still concerned that we are still in danger of crashing out, nobody´s fault and I hope that Mr Tusk will ensure that does not happen.

Can I indulge Madame President with you, as this could well be my last speech after 30 years in this Parliament? It has been quite a long time; I've enjoyed it and all the people I have worked with throughout that time.

I sincerely hope that I've represented the people in Northern Ireland with distinction.

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