DUP MEP Diane Dodds has warned EU leaders that endangering the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom is not a price her party will pay to give its backing to Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement.
Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg Mrs Dodds said: “This Friday, March 29th should have been a day of historic significance for the United Kingdom.
“A day when, after over 40 years of membership of the European Institutions, the United Kingdom would again be an independent nation. A nation working side by side with Europe but free from the federalist agenda of Brussels, free to grow our economy and control our own laws and destiny.”
She continued: “After two years of negotiation our Prime Minister has concluded a draft withdrawal agreement that has twice suffered historic defeats in the House of Commons.
“A draft withdrawal agreement that would see Northern Ireland leaving on different terms to the rest of the United Kingdom under the backstop. An agreement from which the Attorney General advises that there is no legal right of withdrawal.
“The DUP wants to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion but this deal will endanger the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK. It is not a price that we as Unionists are willing to pay.”
She added: “Finally some advice to Mr Tusk and Mr Bullmann. 17.4 million British voters signaled their desire to leave the EU. This House owes them some respect and should acknowledge their democratic choice.
“To Mr Verhofstadt - the British Parliament has already voted for a unilateral agreement around citizens rights. It is time we caught up in these institutions.
“To Mrs Zimmer - the Belfast Agreement has a principle of consent. It is only with the consent of the people of Northern Ireland that there will be any moves towards a change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. You would do well to remember that.”