No backstop, no Brexit deal: Irish Government stands firm after Commons vote
The Irish Government has said there will be no Brexit withdrawal agreement without a backstop arrangement in place.
It comes after MPs agreed to an amendment to the Downing Street backed Customs Bill which supporters have claimed ends the prospect of a customs border in the Irish sea.
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The amendment was backed by the DUP and leading Conservative Party Brexiteers including Jacob Rees-Mogg.
They have claimed the amendments effectively end the EU's 'Backstop' customs plan which would have seen Northern Ireland remain in the Customs Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
The SDLP and Alliance Party have said that the amendment makes a no-deal Brexit and hard border in Ireland more likely.
Responding to the vote a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson made it clear that the Irish Government's position on the backstop had not changed.
"It is fully accepted and understood that there can be no withdrawal agreement without a legally operable backstop ensuring that there will be no hard border," a spokesperson said.
Speaking after the amendment was passed Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin said the anti-Brexit majority in Northern Ireland was not represented in Westminster claiming hardline Brexiteers won the vote because of Sinn Fein's absence.
The Irish Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan accused Sinn Fein of "plunging the British PM into the clutches of hard Brexiteers again".
However, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the outcome of the Westminster votes had strengthened the UK's hand in the Brexit negotiations.
"The DUP were proud to be able to deliver their support in two crucial votes in the House of Commons last night," he said.
"Votes which will ensure the United Kingdom will have a stronger hand in negotiations with the EU."
Hardline Brexiteers won last evening's Westminster vote because of Sinn Fein abstentionism. Anti Brexit majority in Northern Ireland not represented in any forum.Durkan,Ritchie,and Mcdonnell would have defeated that damaging vote for Ireland.— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) July 17, 2018
The idea that because Sinn Fein won seats as abstentionists no-one can ever question abstentionism is ridiculous. Our fate is being decided at Westminster right now. Shocked to see good journalists buying this nonsense.— Colum Eastwood (@columeastwood) July 16, 2018
Many ways to influence Brexit but this limping, clueless, destructive government just won by 3 votes. 10 of our MPs are chasing extreme Brexit & 7 don’t show up - misrepresented or unrepresented, choose your poison 🙄 https://t.co/dTDPP7l5Fy— Claire Hanna (@ClaireHanna) July 16, 2018
SDLP efforts would be better spent on those members of their sister party who sided with the Tories. We won’t be yo-yoing or apologising for an abstentionist policy endorsed by Nat&Rep & which wiped out the SDLP at WM. Our interests will never be served in a Brit Parliament! https://t.co/iEZQoosIhy— Catherine Nelson (@CatSeeley) July 17, 2018
Claire, do you reckon Tory MPs would ally with SF to defeat Tory government on something as politically sensitive as Brexit (aka "the will of the British people")?— Colm Dore (@ColmDore) July 16, 2018
The disaster that is brexit rolls on, today the HOC will vote on MPs taking their summer holidays early. For those still spinning the yarn that SF taking seats would prevent a hard Brexit, remember SNP MPs have been dismissed by May and her crew. #Brexit— Cllr Daniel baker (@danzer_82) July 17, 2018
Tory #Brexit majority of just 3 in the Commons tonight and the tax amendment passed likely to kill the White paper, so not good for Ireland north or south. The 7 Sinn Fein MP’s would be, and could still be decisive in Ireland’s interest— Brendan Howlin (@BrendanHowlin) July 16, 2018
Clear as day: with votes now being won on Brexit by a margin of 3, Sinn Féin’s 7 MPs could make a decisive difference by showing up on a “Brexit Votes Only” basis. I think it’s in Ireland’s interest - do you? #FBPE— Noel Rock (@NoelRock) July 16, 2018
Sinn Féin’s seven MPs could be making a tangible difference to the extent of the impact of #Brexit but instead they’re hiding behind abstentionism; while of course drawing down salaries, staff, offices, expenses and much more https://t.co/UGpjLqJ3uH— Sen. Neale Richmond (@nealerichmond) July 16, 2018
The refusal by Sinn Fein to take up its Westminster seats has plunged the British PM in to the clutches of the hard Brexiteers again. Government wins knife edge vote by wafer thin margin. #Brexit https://t.co/yS7S55mC4d— Charlie Flanagan (@CharlieFlanagan) July 16, 2018
Gov winning by a majority of 3 on latest ERG amendment. A harder Brexit is ironically guaranteed by the absentee SF MPs. A lot of delicious ironies tonight.— Jamie Bryson (@JamieBrysonCPNI) July 16, 2018
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