Nigel Dodds: ‘EU assurance letter is meaningless’

DUP MP Nigel Dodds has said “nothing has changed” despite what he called a “letter of supposed reassurance from the European Union”.

Mr Dodds was speaking after European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission presidnt Jean-Claude Juncker wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May, stating that the Irish border backstop is not the EU’s preferred solution to avoiding a hard border.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds MP. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds MP. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

The DUP remain vehemently opposed to the backstop, which they believe would be damaging to the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The letter states that “if the backstop were to be triggered, it would only apply temporarily.”

But Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the DUP, branded the letter “meaningless”.

He said: “Despite a letter of supposed reassurance from the European Union, there are no ‘legally binding assurances’ as the Prime Minister talked about in December. In fact, there is nothing new. Nothing has changed.

“Rather than reassure us, the Tusk and Juncker letter bolsters our concerns by confirming: everything the Attorney General said in his legal advice regarding the backstop, still stands; there has been no change to the Withdrawal Agreement; and Northern Ireland would be subject to EU laws with no representation in Brussels.”

He added: “We would rely on the Dublin government to speak up for us. Instead of meaningless letters, the Prime Minister should now ask for and deliver changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Mr Dodds also responded to Prime Minister’s comment about “changes to everyday life in Northern Ireland that would put the future of our Union at risk”.

He said: “The Prime Minister must explain this comment. What exactly would the Government be changing? If this is nothing more than scaremongering, then the Prime Minister should cease from such foolish talk. Indeed, the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said that the Republic of Ireland is not making preparations for a hard border even in the event of no deal being agreed.”