07 July 2018
DUP Deputy Leader, Leader of the DUP Parliamentary Party, Spokesman on Reform and Constitutional issues and Foreign Affairs
The Government’s commitment at Chequers to the political and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom with no borders between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom is a welcome reaffirmation of what is an absolute priority for us.
It is clear the whole country will leave the EU together. Republicans may be disappointed as they tried their best to seize this as an opportunity to weaken the Union.
Most sensible people recognise that it would be economically catastrophic as well as politically unacceptable to hive Northern Ireland off into some kind of hybrid status within the EU. It would be madness to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.
That is not going to happen.
Exiting the EU has been a long standing DUP position. That trajectory has been set. In so doing we must always be mindful of our top priority - protecting the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
On the overall United Kingdom/EU relationship, the DUP has been clear that the Government must deliver on what the people of the United Kingdom voted for in the referendum, namely, control of our borders, our laws and our money.
We will be examining and measuring the fine print of the White Paper due to be published next week against these clear objectives. We will be meeting the Government to discuss those details.
Our Party will work to shape the way forward for Northern Ireland making sure the Union is defended and strengthened and our economy is best placed for the years ahead.
People voted to take back control of their money, laws and borders but still want to have sensible relationships with their nearest neighbours in the EU. Too much time has been wasted focusing on a backstop when the real matter of importance is the post Brexit trading relationship. And the EU should remember that the biggest loser from a no deal exit is undoubtedly the Irish Republic.