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Debates
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 21 and 22 March 2019 (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Diane Dodds (NI). – Mr President, this Friday, 29 March should have been an historic day of significance for the United Kingdom: a day when, after 40 years of membership of the European institutions, the United Kingdom would again be an independent nation – a nation working side—by—side with Europe but free from the federalist agenda of Brussels, and free to grow our own economy and control our own laws and destiny.

After two years of negotiation, our Prime Minister has concluded a draft withdrawal agreement that has twice suffered historic defeats in the House of Commons – a draft withdrawal agreement that would see Northern Ireland leaving on different terms to the rest of the United Kingdom under the backstop; an agreement from which the Attorney General advises that there is no legal right of withdrawal. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) wants to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion, but this deal will endanger the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom. It is not a price that we, as Unionists, are willing to pay.

Finally, some advice to Mr Tusk and Mr Bullmann: 17.4 million British voters signalled their desire to leave the European Union. I think this House owes them some respect and should acknowledge their democratic choice, instead of focusing on everyone else. To Mr Verhofstadt: the British Parliament has already voted for a unilateral agreement around citizens’ rights. It’s time we caught up in these institutions. And to Ms Zimmer: the Belfast Agreement has a principle of consent. It is only with the consent of the people of Northern Ireland that there will be any moves towards a change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. You would do well to remember that.

(Applause)

 
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