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DUP Brexiteer MPs ready to vote in opposition to EU-UK trade deal


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First Minister Arlene Foster said "we still have many negative issues arising from the Protocol"

First Minister Arlene Foster said "we still have many negative issues arising from the Protocol"

First Minister Arlene Foster said "we still have many negative issues arising from the Protocol"

Northern Ireland's biggest Brexit backers are preparing to vote against the trade deal that marks the UK's final departure from the European Union.

DUP Brexiteer MPs will line up tomorrow in Parliament's lobbies alongside the SDLP's pro-EU MPs to oppose the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Alliance will also not support the deal, possibly abstaining, while Sinn Fein will not be present.

Yesterday, the DUP confirmed its MPs will vote against the Brexit trade deal. Party leader and First Minister Arlene Foster said "we still have many negative issues arising from the Protocol".

"On that basis we will vote against this agreement. We will continue to work to mitigate the worst excesses of the separate Northern Ireland arrangements whilst exploring new opportunities for Northern Ireland.

"Our challenge going forward will be to press the Government to get a better outcome in those areas where more work is needed.

"These arrangements flowing from the Protocol are of course temporary, in that the Northern Ireland Assembly will have the opportunity to revisit the protocol and vote upon it in four years' time."

Alliance MP Stephen Farry said he will discuss the vote with other opposition parties, but will not back the Bill "as I am opposed to Brexit".

"All forms of Brexit are bad for NI but this deal is a particularly hard form of Brexit," he said.

"It is for the DUP to rationalise their own approach - but having so far strongly supported Brexit they do need to recognise that this is what Brexit looks like, and a set of special arrangements for NI were always going to be required."

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken MLA said his party did not support the deal. He said it was the DUP's "strategic naivety" in welcoming Boris Johnson's proposals in October 2019 that meant they now "bear huge responsibility for the role they have played in delivering a border in the Irish Sea".

The Assembly is also set to be recalled to discuss the deal tomorrow. Sinn Fein chief whip John O'Dowd said: "We think it's vitally important that the voices of workers, businesses and families in the area most affected by Brexit is heard."

While the debate will allow MLAs to air their views, it will have no effect. The legislation is set to pass, thanks to the Government's large majority and Labour support.

Belfast Telegraph


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