DUP stands firm as Brexit chaos goes on

DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP
DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has reiterated once again that the party will under no circumstances support the prime minister’s Brexit deal when it comes before the House of Commons today.

Mr Dodds said there had been no change whatsoever in the treaty and that concerns of a trade border between NI and the UK, together with fears over who would make the Province’s laws, remain.

It is unclear whether the motion will achieve enough votes without the DUP’s support.

“We regret the fact that we weren’t able to get to a position to support the Withdrawal Agreement,” Mr Dodds said.

If there had been “legally binding changes at treaty level” then they could have supported the deal, he said.

Short of that, he added, “we can have domestic legislation strengthened” to mitigate the impact of the Irish backstop, should it come into force.

However, today’s motion will not count as a third attempt to pass a “meaningful vote” on Theresa May’s deal, because it will not cover the future relationship with Europe.

Commons Speaker John Bercow cleared the motion for debate, ruling that it complies with parliamentary conventions which bar ministers from asking MPs to vote repeatedly on the same proposals.

If passed by MPs today, the vote would qualify the UK to be granted an automatic delay to May 22 as the formal date of Brexit.

Meanwhile, DUP MP Gregory Campbell said his party had nothing to say about reports that Tory leadership contender Boris Johnson had performed a U-turn to support the deal.

“What Boris Johnson or other MPs do is entirely a matter for them. The DUP will stand four square on protecting the Union and respecting the referendum result,” he said.