Jim Allister: Our pleasure at our departure from the EU is blighted by the betrayal of Northern Ireland

The moment of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union should evoke unrestrained joy from a eurosceptic like me, but, while this date is a momentous day in our nation’s history, it is undeniably blighted by the betrayal of Northern Ireland in the process.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 11:02 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st February 2020, 11:46 am
Brexit supporters in Parliament Square, London, to mark the UK leaving the EU on Friday January 31. Jim Allister says: "It is a momentous day in our nation’s history, it is undeniably blighted by the betrayal of Northern Ireland" Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA

Though we joined as one nation, we are not leaving as one nation. Instead this part of the kingdom is left behind under the control of the EU Customs Union and Single Market.

A serf-like rule-taker, still subject to ECJ governance on critical trade issues and blocked from enjoying the full benefits of a real Brexit, left to drift apart economically from the GB mainland.

An Irish Sea border and the fettering of our links to our biggest market, for the sake of unfettered trade with the minnow market of the Republic, is not just a travesty but a manifest nudge of Northern Ireland out of the Union - making Arlene Foster’s choice of venue for the Brexit moment all the more inappropriate.

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Letter to the editor

The fact that this injury to our position within the U.K. was inflicted in the house of our friends at a time when unionist influence ought to have been at its greatest, adds significantly to the pain.

So, while pleased our de jure membership of the EU has ended, it is only when, for us all, the de facto position is aligned will it be mission accomplished.

Jim Allister, TUV leader