Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster on February 8.
The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster has written an opinion piece in the Belfast Telegraph outlining why her party will vote against Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement on Friday.
She reiterates that she wants a deal that works for all and that the party “cannot vote for a deal, including a backstop arrangement, which could undermine the Union.”
Foster says the long-term consequences must be considered.
“This is about looking at the impact of placing a trade barrier between Northern Ireland and our biggest market in Great Britain. These decisions are weighty,” Foster writes.
She says European leaders — including Jean-Claude Juncker, Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar — have recognized that a hard border can be avoided, thus undermining the argument for a backstop in the first place.
“I hope in the coming days that we can reach an outcome which respects the referendum result and which protects the Union … We can, but it will require pragmatic minds in Dublin, Brussels and London,” she concludes.
The party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson, repeats in the Commons that the DUP has not changed its position.
“We have sought to, over the last number of weeks, to work with the government, to try and find a way of either getting legal assurances or legislative changes to enable us to move this process on,” Wilson says.
“We want to see a deal. We want out of the European Union and we want to have a clear path as to how to do that. But it’s not been possible because the Withdrawal Agreement itself so ties the hands of this government that it is impossible to find a way of securing the kind of assurances which are required.”