The DUP has said the government should “listen to MPs” on rather than “telling us what we should do” with a “roadshow selling the fundamentally flawed Withdrawal Agreement”.
The party’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds MP, was speaking as the minister for the cabinet office, David Lidington MP, visited Northern Ireland.
Mr Dodds said: “It is always good to welcome Cabinet Ministers to Northern Ireland where they can get a better understanding of the needs of our constituents. This visit, however, seems to be more about telling us what we should do rather than listening.
“Rather than a roadshow selling the fundamentally flawed Withdrawal Agreement, I would prefer the Government would listen to MPs all on sides of the House Commons and finally acknowledge the backstop is dangerous for Northern Ireland and the entire United Kingdom.”
He continued: “The Withdrawal Agreement is an international legally binding Treaty which would place a customs and regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain contrary to the direct pledges of the Prime Minister. It leaves the entire United Kingdom trapped in the backstop arrangements until the EU decides to release us.
“These are not just my observations but also the view of the Government’s Attorney General as stated in his recently published legal advice to Cabinet.
“I understand why businesses want certainty about the future trading relationship with the EU but this is not the best of both worlds for Northern Ireland. Even the Chancellor of the Exchequer has had to admit the backstop is a bad arrangement for the economy and the Union. And the Prime Minister herself now says no one likes it!”
Mr Dodds adsded: “I want to see a sensible deal and we can get one. This is not a binary choice between this Withdrawal Agreement and no deal. It is time for the Government to recognise the genuine opposition to this Withdrawal Agreement and seek fundamental change by getting rid of the backstop. With London, Dublin and Brussels all stating categorically that they will not build a hard border in any circumstances, there is no need for this backstop arrangement.”