Belfast Telegraph

Kill backstop or it could haunt us for generations: Lord Trimble

By Trevor Mason

The Prime Minister's controversial Brexit deal has sparked further clashes in the House of Lords - with a former Stormont First Minister claiming it has "perverse" implications for Northern Ireland and has to go.

As peers resumed their marathon three-day debate on the Withdrawal Agreement, former Ulster Unionist leader, now Tory peer, Lord Trimble said the Irish backstop protocol undermined the Good Friday agreement

He added: "It's not the desire to leave the EU that's causing the damage, it's what the EU is doing by way of reprisal."

He warned: "If we don't kill the backstop and this agreement now, it's going to haunt us for years, decades, maybe even for generations as well."

Labour former Northern Ireland Secretary Lord Hain accused Mrs May of offering Parliament a "false choice" - to vote for her "flawed" deal, which would deliver more uncertainty, or face a "truly catastrophic no-deal". He said there were better choices and Parliament must reject the agreement and allow a people's vote.

"The deal doesn't solve anything," Lord Hain told the House.

"It just postpones the crunch until October 2020 with all the extra economic instability and business uncertainty that means."

Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Hunt of Wirral backed the agreement and warned those who rejected it were "playing with fire".

He added: "If this agreement fails, there can be no guarantees of another one in its place."

But another Labour former Northern Ireland secretary, Lord Murphy of Torfaen, said the principles of the Good Friday agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland, had been ignored, undermining three decades of work.

He said there had been a failure both in negotiations to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly and on the Brexit deal, adding: "The result of all this is that the agreement is unquestionably doomed."

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