The Ulster Unionist Party Leader Robin Swann MLA has said that the Brexit negotiations process has been poisoned by the backstop and cannot be resolved until that is addressed.
Robin Swann MLA said:
“The deadlock at Westminster continued today with the House of Commons rejecting the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal deal for a third time.
“The Prime Minister said that the implications are grave and that we now appear to be leaving the EU without a deal in two weeks’ time.
“The Ulster Unionist Party wants to see the Referendum result respected and for the UK to leave the EU in a manner that respects the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom. We do not support a second referendum.
“We want to see a deal reached that works for all, something the Prime Minister’s deal - incorporating the backstop - could never do. The backstop contravenes the principle of consent, places a border up the middle of the Irish sea and in so doing breaches the Belfast Agreement. It paves the way for Northern Ireland to diverge from the rest of the United Kingdom over time and no unionist worthy of the name can agree to it.
“It has poisoned the entire Brexit negotiations and it has to be removed to enable any progress. We warned about this from the day and hour we first saw it suggested in December 2017, but our warnings were ignored by those who thought they knew better.
“The Prime Minister and the Government need to regroup and reach out to all political parties in the UK. The time available is very short if we are to avoid having to run European Elections, but we must look to avoid the prolonged uncertainty that will only undermine our business and agri-food sectors.
“Now is the time for calm heads and hard work.”