Northern Ireland has been “sold out” by the Prime Minister and the UK’s Brexit negotiators, MPs have heard.
Theresa May was told her draft EU withdrawal agreement threatened the integrity of the UK and risked isolating Northern Ireland from the rest of the country.
DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds, speaking in the Commons, told Mrs May despite numerous private meetings on such issues she had not listened to concerns.
He said: “I could today stand here and take the Prime Minister through the list of promises and pledges that she made to this House and to us privately about the future of Northern Ireland and the future relationship with the EU but I fear it would be a waste of time since she clearly doesn’t listen.”
Mr Dodds congratulated the Cabinet ministers who had so far resigned over the deal, adding: “The choice is now clear, we stand up for the United Kingdom, the whole of the United Kingdom, the integrity of the United Kingdom or we vote for a vassal state.”
The DUP’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said the deal was a case of “Northern Ireland being put on a platter as an object to surrender to the EU”.
Labour former minister Kate Hoey later added: “Outside this House when people read these hundreds of pages of eurospeak, they will realise that in any way we are being sold out, we’ve been sold out by our negotiators who have allowed the EU to take the lead.
“Will she not accept that at this stage not only are we all being collectively sold out, but the people of Northern Ireland are being sold out absolutely?”
Mrs May responded: “I do not agree with her in relation to the suggestion that in some sense the EU Commission, the European Union has given nothing away to the UK during these negotiations, these have been tough negotiations, this is a complex matter.”
She added: “The backstop is something which neither side, neither the United Kingdom nor the European Union wish to ever see being exercised.”