11 April 2019
DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA and Northern Ireland MEP Diane Dodds will be meeting Michel Barnier on Thursday alongside Conservative MPs Ian Duncan Smith and Owen Patterson.
Speaking in advance of the meeting Mrs Foster said,
“This is a useful opportunity to once again set out why we oppose the Withdrawal Agreement and urge the EU’s Chief Negotiator to acknowledge the concerns of those we represent in Northern Ireland by making the changes outlined by Parliament on 29 January.
We want to see a sensible deal which works for every part of the United Kingdom and respects the referendum result. However, we cannot settle for a deal which would undermine the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.
The European Union has spoken much about protecting the peace process and the Belfast Agreement but has consistently ignored the views of unionists who do not want a new border erected between Northern Ireland the rest of the United Kingdom.
Despite the Prime Minister being warned about the opposition to her Withdrawal Agreement, she has limped along and tried to force people into a cul-de-sac where they have no option but to support her deal.
That is a weak approach and demeans the strength of this great nation. It is also foolish as it traps the UK and burdens future generations with a bad deal.
Our great democratic principles have been damaged. It is outrageous that almost three years after people voted to leave the European Union, we are potentially facing another European election in the United Kingdom.
The uncertainty we face is not the fault of the voters. The Prime Minister should recognise that the decision to leave the EU is not the problem but rather the ham-fisted manner in which the negotiations have taken place.”