Wednesday 23 October 2019

Arlene Foster says DUP will not support British government if they 'table a fresh meaningful vote'

DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photo: Reuters
DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photo: Reuters
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The DUP has said it will not support the British government if it tables a fresh meaningful Brexit vote because "the necessary changes we seek to the backstop have not been secured".

Prominent Brexiteer and chair of the influential ERG group of Conservatives Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would be guided on how the DUP acted. He said if the party abstained the deal could get the support required.

However, Nigel Dodds tweeted: "The DUP do not abstain on the union".

In a statement on Wednesday evening the DUP said good discussions had taken place with the government with progress made on domestic legislation.

"All concerned recognise the need to ensure that as we leave the European Union the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom is maintained.

"However, given the fact that the necessary changes we seek to the backstop have not been secured between the Government and the European Union, and the remaining and ongoing strategic risk that Northern Ireland would be trapped in backstop arrangements at the end of the implementation period, we will not be supporting the Government if they table a fresh meaningful vote."

The statement continued: "The backstop if operational has the potential to create an internal trade border within the United Kingdom and would cut us off from our main internal market, being Great Britain.

"We want to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from, and our future relationship with, the European Union on terms that accord with our key objectives to ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom.

"In our view the current withdrawal agreement does not do so and the backstop, which we warned this Government against from its first inception, poses an unacceptable threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom and will inevitably limit the United Kingdom’s ability to negotiate on the type of future relationship with the EU."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday she would quit if her twice-defeated EU divorce deal passes at the third attempt, making a last-ditch attempt to persuade rebels in her Conservative party to back her, an MP in her party said.

Mrs May has told Conservative MPs she "will not stand in the way" of the party having new leadership for the second phase of Brexit negotiations, telling the 1922 Committee: "I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party."

Mrs May "will go if deal gets through," said the MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Suggests she goes after a deal."

Another Conservative member said that while May had not given a date, the impression was that she would go "reasonably soon".

Mrs May's announcement is the latest dramatic turn in the United Kingdom's three-year Brexit crisis, but it is still remains uncertain how, when or even if it will leave the European Union.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May's offer to step down in exchange for support for her deal showed her Brexit talks were "about party management, not ... the public interest".

"Theresa May's pledge to Tory MPs to stand down if they vote for her deal shows once and for all that her chaotic Brexit negotiations have been about party management, not principles or the public interest," he said on Twitter.

"A change of government can't be a Tory stitch-up, the people must decide."

Many of the Conservative rebels who want a cleaner break from the EU than May's deal would deliver had made it clear that they would only consider supporting her agreement if she gave a firm commitment and date for her resignation.

Mrs May had already promised to step down before the next election, due in 2022. By agreeing to go sooner, she increases the chances of her EU deal passing before the new April 12 deadline.

Belfast Telegraph

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