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Main parties committed to better deal for Northern Ireland within Brexit Bill

Commitments: Aodhan Connolly
Commitments: Aodhan Connolly

By Staff Reporter

The five main political parties have united to give a commitment to seek amendments to the Brexit Bill which will "guarantee equitable and unfettered access to the Great Britain market", according to Northern Ireland's leading business groups and trade bodies.

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Among the proposed amendments are an aim to ensure Northern Ireland enjoys the same access to the internal UK market as the other regions do, and protection for local companies and consumers from the costs of the consequences of any new trade frictions.

The group also asked for the Stormont Executive to be consulted by the Government on regulations which could have an impact on Northern Ireland's place in the UK internal market.

Following a meeting between the organisations and politicians from the DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, UUP and Alliance, Aodhan Connolly, who chaired the meeting, said: "The commitments that have been made across the political divide to seek amendments to the EU Bill are unprecedented and we now urge politicians and others with influence to do all in their power to help Northern Ireland continue to flourish after Brexit and long into the future.

"At last, all the parties are in tune with business and are speaking up for the whole of Northern Ireland."

The 12 NI business bodies include the Ulster Farmers Union, Confederation of British Industry (NI), the Dairy Council for NI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Freight Transport Association, Trade NI, the NI Food and Drink Association, and the Institute of Directors NI.

Meanwhile, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MP said his party had tabled 13 amendments to the Brexit Bill, including proposals "for a mitigation package that would shield local communities and businesses from the impact of a damaging Brexit".

He added: "People here did not vote for this future, and we should not be expected to pay the price for it in jobs and lost opportunities."

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