Given the risk to unionism of being separated from Great Britain, we in the DUP should back UK remaining in customs union with EU

The proposal that the UK leave the EU, but remain in a customs union with the EU, has much to recommend it, says DUP member David Cather
The proposal that the UK leave the EU, but remain in a customs union with the EU, has much to recommend it, says DUP member David Cather

The prime minister’s deal has been defeated for a third time in the House of Commons and in this week’s indicative votes, no option won a majority.

Everybody knows what they don’t want, nobody seems willing to compromise, an agreed way forward seems impossible.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Or is it, one option almost won a majority in the indicative votes and indeed would have won a majority if the DUP had voted for it.

It was Ken Clarke’s proposal that we leave the EU, but remain in a customs union with the EU.

The customs union option has much to recommend it. It honours the result of the referendum, which only stipulated that we should leave the EU.

It may be seen as a halfway house, but in a country that was split 52-48 at the referendum and remains split down the middle, is a halfway house such a bad idea?

The customs union also minimises the impact of Brexit on business and crucially for Northern Ireland removes the issue of having to erect a border.

Given that the risk to unionism of being separated from the rest of the UK remains live, I urge DUP MPs to remove this risk and back the customs union when it comes up again in indicative votes next week.

David Cather, South Belfast DUP