Brexit: Jim Allister says case for backstop built on sophistry

There should be no compromise on unionist opposition to the backstop, TUV leader Jim Allister has urged.

In a formal response to the Commons’ Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’s call for evidence about the impact of the backstop, Mr Allister said that the proposal would lead to divergence of the Northern Ireland and GB economies.

Jim Allister made a five-page submission to the NI Affairs Committee on the impact of any backstop

Jim Allister made a five-page submission to the NI Affairs Committee on the impact of any backstop

Mr Allister’s five-page submission is largely a legal analysis of the backstop proposal. The QC said that Paragraph 8 of the advice quantifies this to mean Northern Ireland “will be subject to 300 different legal instruments applicable only to this part of the UK and over which the EU will have total jurisdiction”.

The North Antrim MLA said that “there can be no compromise on the backstop for any period of time”.

And Mr Allister said that there was a fundamental flaw in the case made by Dublin and the EU for having the backstop. Their case, he said, was built on “sophistry”.

“The idea that it is essential to avoid a ‘hard border’ is a hoax. The core question, which remains unanswered, is ‘Who would build this hard border?’ Ireland says not it.

“The UK says the same. So who?

“The EU Commission has equivocated, but it is one thing for a spokesman to articulate the theory that no deal means a hard border, but quite something else to translate such into the reality of border infrastructure.

“It won’t happen, unless the EU makes the Dublin government physically partition Ireland. How likely is that?”

The former DUP MEP and veteran Eurosceptic said that if “EU intransigence” led to the UK leaving without a deal, then “so be it”.