Ulster Farmers' Union backing for draft Brexit deal 'greatly disappointing'

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister has said he is "greatly disappointed" the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) has backed Theresa May's draft Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The UFU, which represents farmers across Northern Ireland, has warned that a no-deal Brexit would be "absolutely disastrous" for local farming and agri-food sector.

The Confederation of British Industry NI, Federation of Small Businesses NI, Institute of Directors NI and NI Chamber of Commerce have all backed the deal.

However, TUV leader Jim Allister has expressed amazement the UFU in particular has backed the deal.

He said: “I’d like to put down the anti-Brexit euphoria for Mrs May’s deal from business interests as naivety, but when you see the ‘usual suspects’ – headed up by the CBI – line up as government supplicants you soon recognise the lackey syndrome.

“How the UFU in particular could join this chorus of embracing the break-up of the UK single market – on which they depend – is beyond rationalisation.

"Urging MPs to vote for an Irish Sea regulatory border is madness, as well as accepting NI as part of the EU’s custom territory. Have they forgotten the business supply chain is a two way process and, therefore, rushing to impede GB/NI trade is as dangerous as it is absurd.

“I’m greatly disappointed that the UFU has abandoned the settled will of most farmers that they wish to leave the EU in all its parts."

Unionists have expressed anger that the deal would see Northern Ireland aligned with EU rules and remain part of the single market with checks on some goods coming in from the UK to Northern Ireland, if the BRexit backstop is implemented.

Mr Allister added: "Now is a time for anyone who values the prosperity which the UK Union has brought us to recognise that at this seminal moment to endorse Mrs May’s plan is to endorse the break-up of the UK.

"I do not believe such accords with the desires of Ulster farmers. Pity it seems to be the vision of their union.”

The Ulster Farmers' Union has been approached for comment.

Belfast Telegraph