Belfast Telegraph

Referendum promises must be delivered but DUP still want Brexit deal, insists DUP's Nigel Dodds

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has insisted his party still wants to find a Brexit solution, but warned that a no-deal scenario was likely if the European Union did not change its position.

Mr Dodds was speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme on Monday.

The DUP remain opposed to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal due to concerns surrounding the Irish border backstop, aimed at preventing a hard border in Ireland.

A vote on Mrs May's deal is set to take place in Parliament on January 15. A previous vote in December was postponed to allow the Prime Minister to secure changes to the deal.

However, Mr Dodds said concerns surrounding the deal had not been addressed, and that it would fail in Parliament in its current form,

"The current deal is the worst of all worlds, because it doesn't satisfy remainers and it certainly doesn't satisfy Brexiteers," the North Belfast MP said.

He said that under the current agreement laws for Northern Ireland would not be set in Westminster or Belfast, but in Brussels.

"We want a good deal, that used to be Theresa May's view. She's the woman who insisted 'a bad deal is worse than no-deal'," Mr Dodds said.

"The fact is we want a deal, but this is not the deal that is going to pass in the House of Commons. She knows that."

The DUP deputy leader said that a recent statement from the Irish government confirming that they would not put up any border infrastructure in the event of a no-deal Brexit was "significant".

"It proves the point we've been making that you don't need this backstop to ensure that there is no hard border infrastructure," Mr Dodds said.

Asked if he agreed with former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's statement that "no deal is the closest thing to what people voted for in the referendum," Mr Dodds replied that his party still believed a Brexit deal is possible.

"We need to ensure that what was promised during the referendum is actually delivered," he said.

"I believe that we can get a deal with the EU that meets that criteria, but if we can't, if the EU obdurately insists on the withdrawal agreement in all its current form then we will be headed to a situation that nobody wants.

"If we can't we have to face the reality that it won't be the UK, it won't be the British Government that got us into the situation, it will be those who insist on a protocol that nobody likes, nobody wants and yet they insisted on it."

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