Sunday 25 August 2019

Foster slams May as 'weak' on Brexit approach

Arlene Foster: She said the DUP won’t settle for a bad deal. Photo: REUTERS
Arlene Foster: She said the DUP won’t settle for a bad deal. Photo: REUTERS

Cate McCurry

Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster has accused British Prime Minister Theresa May of trying to force people into backing her Brexit deal.

She described Mrs May's approach to Brexit as "weak" and damaging to the UK.

Ms Foster made the comments ahead of her meeting with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

She will be joined by Northern Ireland MEP Diane Dodds as well as Conservative MPs Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson at today's meeting.

"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 January 29.

"We want to see a sensible deal which works for every part of the United Kingdom and respects the referendum result," she said.

"However, we cannot settle for a deal which would undermine the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom."

The DUP's 10 MPs had been supporting Mrs May's minority government in key decisions but have voted against her proposed deal.

They adamantly oppose the backstop insurance policy which they believe would redraw the border with the EU down the Irish Sea and threaten the integrity of the UK and Northern Ireland's place in it.

Ms Foster added: "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 UK.

"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."

She said it was "outrageous" that the UK could face European elections.

Irish Independent

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