27 November 2018
DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA has met with the Prime Minister Theresa May MP in Stormont House to discuss the Withdrawal Agreement. DUP MEP Diane Dodds and Assembly Chief Whip Gordon Lyons MLA accompanied Mrs Foster as part of the delegation.
Speaking after the meeting Mrs. Foster said,
“The Prime Minister is always welcome to Northern Ireland. We are pleased to see her visit this part of the United Kingdom however the Withdrawal Agreement, in its current form, is unacceptable and she will not persuade the DUP to support it. It would place barriers to our greatest market and it would lock us into accepting rules and regulations from Brussels with absolutely no democratic control over those rules.
There are a growing number of voices right across the House of Commons who oppose the Withdrawal Agreement. They see good parts but they want the backstop to be binned. With no enthusiasm amongst parliamentarians for the Withdrawal Agreement, it seems destined to be rejected by the House of Commons.
We have urged the Prime Minister to dump her PR plans for the Withdrawal Agreement and instead work on finding a better way forward. If the backstop was removed, then consensus could be achieved.
We should not be pressurised into accepting a deal that senior figures, including the Chancellor, have said is bad for the economy and bad for the Union because of a false choice that there is no alternative. There is another way. This is not a binary choice. We need to explore that third way.
The European Union will obviously say there can be no change right until the moment they accept change. Presently there is absolutely no pressure on them to shift their position because the United Kingdom isn’t even asking.
Now is the time to accept that the Withdrawal Agreement, as it currently stands, is damaging and that the United Kingdom cannot accept it. The conversation can then begin to ensure we get a deal that works for everyone.”