Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland should get to vote on Brexit backstop every five years: businessman Brendan Duddy Jnr

People take part in an anti-Brexit rally at the Irish border (Brian Lawless/PA)
People take part in an anti-Brexit rally at the Irish border (Brian Lawless/PA)
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A leading businessman says Northern Ireland should remain in the backstop for now but people should be allowed to vote on the arrangement every five years.

Brendan Duddy Jnr, director of Londonderry hospitality company the Duddy Group, says the backstop should be kept in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, Mr Duddy argues that the backstop is in line with the clear wish of most people here to remain in the EU. He says: "Without a backstop, the people of Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland have no real idea of where a no-deal outcome would take us, or how it would affect us."

Suggesting a way forward, he adds: "The people of NI would stay in the backstop as a temporary arrangement to give us close links in an economic sense, aligned with the Irish Republic and the rest of the EU. At the same time, we would continue to have open and full access to the UK's internal market. Under the agreed terms of this amended backstop, there would be a referendum in five years to determine if we are happy to continue in this arrangement.

"This might be subject to a repeated referendum every five years. The referendum would not consider the political or constitutional status of Northern Ireland and would address only our economic relationship with the EU, and the regulations of our trade."

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