02 October 2018
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has warned EU leaders that the DUP is “not bluffing” when it comes to protecting the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom as Brexit negotiations enter a crucial phase.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Addressing MEPs in Strasbourg, Mrs Dodds said:
‘‘As we approach October European Council let me once again make some things clear to Mr Barnier and the Member States that continue to use Northern Ireland and the impossible demands of the backstop as a sword hanging over the outcome of the negotiations.
“The idea, as proposed in the backstop, that we would allow Northern Ireland to become some sort of semi-detached part of the United Kingdom is both offensive and outrageous.
“Protecting the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom is a red line that cannot be broken or bent.
“I say to the EU, as well as to my own Government, that when it comes to the stability of the United Kingdom and the security of Northern Ireland’s place in it, mark my words - we are not bluffing.
“The Irish Sea checks proposed by Mr Barnier would put in place customs and regulatory differences within the United Kingdom, cutting our Province adrift and creating a border within the United Kingdom from day one.
“Mr Juncker you may only be concerned about the Irish Republic and the Dublin Government with your ‘Ireland first’ comment, but I am concerned about the jobs and prosperity of families in Northern Ireland whose economy is structurally linked to the rest of the United Kingdom.
“The sooner Brussels realises this the sooner we can get to a place where a sensible trade negotiation is possible.’’