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Arlene Foster's party split on way ahead: UUP

Critical: Robin Swann
Critical: Robin Swann

By Staff Reporter

The Ulster Unionists have accused Arlene Foster's DUP of being in disarray over Brexit.

Robin Swann said Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole deserves better than the current mess.

The UUP leader said: "The events of the last week in Westminster have underlined the Brexit mess that we have descended into; a wholly avoidable debacle created by a Prime Minister wedded to unachievable red lines, supported by a DUP whose policies now range from crash-out to remain.

"On Friday Nigel Dodds expressed the view that the United Kingdom would be better remaining in the EU rather than risk the integrity of the Union, yet later on Friday evening Sammy Wilson told the Belfast Telegraph that it would be 'perfectly acceptable' to leave without a deal if the right agreement could not be achieved'. Both can't be right."

North Antrim MLA Mr Swann said his party had "repeatedly expressed our opposition to a no-deal exit which could create mayhem for businesses and farmers".

"If we need to have serious discussions about achieving tariff-free trade between the United Kingdom and the EU to avoid the potential disaster of leaving without a sensible deal, then that is a discussion that needs to be had," he added.

"We recently set out our idea of a common travel area for goods that delivers Brexit, and we are very clear that joint authority though the backstop is wholly unacceptable.

"It is extraordinary that Nigel Dodds and some parts of the DUP have now done a full U-turn and, if elements of his own party are to be believed, is urging supporting the Ulster Unionist Party's position.

"Instead of stopping the backstop when they had the opportunity in 2017, or by encouraging the removal of Theresa May's red lines, the DUP sought the approval of the extreme wings within the Tory Party and helped foster division there.

"As we have seen, the only thing Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg now have in common with some DUP MPs is speaking at their fundraising dinners," he added.

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