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Debates
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). – Mr President, thank you to those from the Commission and Council for their contributions. Last night in the House of Commons, MPs acted on behalf of the British people and decisively rejected the draft withdrawal agreement. In doing so, they defended the integrity of our precious Union, the constitutional position of Northern Ireland, the unity of the UK’s single market and the UK’s right to an independent future outside the European Union.

Already in this House this morning, there is some confusion around the legal position in the United Kingdom, much talk about delaying Article 50 or another referendum. Let me clarify: it is the legal position that the United Kingdom leaves on 29 March 2019. This is the one clear element of law within this whole conundrum. There has also been much focus on the backstop proposal, much ill—informed talk and threats of violence if Europe doesn’t get its way.

Again, I repeat in this House, we in the DUP do not want to see a hard border, but the intransigence of Dublin and EU leaders in this House in demanding the backstop leaves a no—deal option on the table.

By refusing to countenance legally viable changes to the draft withdrawal agreement, these institutions made the result of yesterday’s vote inevitable. All sides have said that there can be no hard border under any scenario. We should now direct our energy to a positive and beneficial negotiation on trade which minimises all frictions at all borders without the controversy of the backstop. Ultimately, this is where the answer has been all along, and it is where progress will be unlocked.

 
Last updated: 28 May 2019Legal notice