Edwin Poots’ warm words for Government proposals are surprising and concerning – Aiken

The Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has expressed his surprise and concern at the DUP’s Edwin Poots’ welcome for the UK Government’s latest proposals for a border in the Irish Sea.  

Steve Aiken OBE MLA said:

“I was genuinely surprised and concerned at Edwin Poots’ warm words for the Government`s latest Brexit proposals for Northern Ireland on BBC Radio Ulster`s Good Morning Ulster programme, when he said that they pose both advantages and disadvantages, accepting that ‘the disadvantage is very clear that there would be some form of point of entry regulations to be adhered to as you arrive at Belfast and Larne and so forth.’ There shouldn`t be any hindrance to trade within our own country. 

“In spite of platitudes and reassurances from London – including the Prime Minister himself – it is now very clear that the UK Government’s proposals will treat Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the UK, not least because we will have border posts at our ports and airports, with enhanced infrastructure inspecting goods sent to Northern Ireland from the rest of our own country because Northern Ireland will have to adhere to the regulations of the EU Customs Union.

“Edwin says ‘‘there will be hopefully a very small degree of checks’ and that ‘it has the potential to get right down to around one per cent of vehicles, commercial vehicles that are entering Northern Ireland. In that case that wouldn`t be particularly damaging to the economy and we would have the advantage of actually having access to the single market and to the UK market and make Northern Ireland an attractive place for inward investment.’

“Regrettably, based on our recent bitter experience of UK-EU negotiations, we cannot afford to just rely on hope and wish for the best. We need to make abundantly clear to the Government over and over again that Northern Ireland should never have been treated any differently to the rest of the UK in these Brexit negotiations and that any further movement away from maintaining the integrity of the United Kingdom`s single market will leave Northern Ireland businesses high and dry and cause long lasting damage to the Union itself. The creation and strengthening of a border in the Irish Sea is in no one`s interests, apart from those who wish to drive instability for selfish political reasons.”

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