02 October 2019
The Democratic Unionist Party has argued that it is important to secure a balanced and sensible deal as we leave the European Union. Those who know anything about Northern Ireland will appreciate that these issues will only work with the support of the unionist as well as the nationalist community.
The DUP has always indicated that the United Kingdom must leave the EU as one nation and in so doing that no barriers to trade are erected within the UK.
This offer provides a basis for the EU to continue in a serious and sustained engagement with the UK Government without risk to the internal market of the United Kingdom.
It will require changes to the draft withdrawal treaty and we welcome the fact that all sides now recognise that requirement in order to secure agreement.
These proposals would ensure that Northern Ireland would be out of the EU Customs Union and the Single Market as with the rest of the United Kingdom.
In December 2017 we insisted that democratic consent was required in circumstances where Northern Ireland would align alongside specific sectors of the EU single market.
Paragraph 50 of the Joint Report between the United Kingdom and the European Union outlined the requirement for such consent. We have held steadfast to that position whilst recognising the need to be flexible and look at Northern Ireland specific solutions achieved with the support and consent of the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland.
Our opposition to the anti-democratic nature of the backstop is well known. We cannot and will not support arrangements where we are rule takers without requiring the consent of the elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland.
These proposals, which are entirely consistent with the sprit and principles of the Belfast Agreement, demonstrate commitment to working with our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland in a spirit of mutual co-operation whilst respecting the integrity of Northern Ireland’s economic and constitutional position within the United Kingdom. They also protect the integrity of the institutions created by the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements.
They ensure democratic consent to the specific alignment proposals both before they enter into force and thereafter on an ongoing basis and they respect the democratic decision of the UK, of which Northern Ireland is a part.
Further work remains to be completed between the UK and the European Union but we would encourage all concerned to approach these discussions in a positive mind-set within a spirit of wanting to secure a negotiated withdrawal agreement that can allow everyone to focus on future relationships.
For our part that is the manner in which we will approach these issues over the coming period.