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DUP admits no-deal Brexit could hurt Northern Ireland economy

Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

The DUP has admitted that a no-deal Brexit could hurt Northern Ireland's economy in the short-term.

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It comes after the Department for the Economy yesterday released findings that a no-deal Brexit could put at least 40,000 jobs in the region at risk.

It states that the UK's withdrawal from the EU without a deal would have "immediate and severe consequences" for Northern Ireland's competitiveness, adding that many jobs could "disappear almost overnight".

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson acknowledged that a no-deal exit would cause challenges for Northern Ireland, but said that his party were working with the government on how to mitigate the damage.

He reiterated that the DUP wanted to see a Brexit deal reached between the government and the EU.

Boris Johnson, heavy favourite to become the next Tory leader and PM has said that he will lead the UK out of the EU on the October 31 deadline, deal or no deal.

"We're talking to the government about how we can mitigate any such impact in the short term and that is what we want to do," the Lagan Valley MP told the BBC.

"We are advocating a Brexit with a deal and that means getting the withdrawal agreement approved by Parliament.

"To do that we know the issue that needs to be addressed is the backstop."

Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald said it was "absolute nonsense" that the DUP were working to stop a no-deal scenario.

Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald
Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald

"They are the very party whose illogical opposition to the backstop and withdrawal agreement has driven us to this point," the East Londonderry MLA said.

“We have always been clear, the north cannot be the collateral damage for the Tory/DUP pact and their fantasy Brexit. It is time they stepped back from the brink.

“The withdrawal agreement and the backstop is the only deal on the table. It contains the necessary protections to avoid a hard border and to protect our economy.”

Outgoing PM Theresa May agreed the controversial 'backstop' plan with the EU in an attempt to address the Irish border issue, but this was rejected by hardline Brexiteers and the DUP.  

The backstop issue effectively ended Mrs May's hopes of getting her Brexit deal through Parliament and its failure hastened her departure as Prime Minister.

Prime Ministerial hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have said that they would favour a technology based approach to the border, while the EU claim the technology necessary does not yet exist.

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