Jim Allister: PM appears ready to concede Irish Sea border, and thus the Backstop becomes the Back Stab

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

We know the malevolent EU prioritises no Irish border above no Irish Sea border — which would de facto make Northern Ireland a vassal EU protectorate (without any autonomy).

But the matter which is now crystallising is that Mrs May is so unwilling to stand up to the EU’s land grab that she appears ready to concede that the EU border should extend to the Irish Sea and thereby separate Northern Ireland from its integral place within the UK.

Thus the Backstop becomes the Back Stab.

Shame on Mrs May for being so spineless to even contemplate such an outcome.

If the choice is between an Irish Sea border and an Irish land border — and it needn’t be, but if the EU insists on that choice, then, any prime minister who is a unionist should have no hesitation in choosing the integrity of the United Kingdom.

The consequences of an Irish Sea regulatory border are massive: it cuts us off from the benefit of new trade deals; ties us for ever to the EU Acquis (the accumulated body of EU law), which we cannot even influence; places us within the jurisdiction of the ECJ; restricts the flow of goods to and from our biggest market, GB; and, therefore, progressively, orientates our economy away from our biggest single market — as it diverges from EU regulation, but we can’t, with a corresponding increasing alignment with the economy of the Republic.

The Backstop, as intended by its proponents, is a template for Irish unity — making Mrs May’s compliance with Brussels’ demand all the more perfidious.

Even though she was foolishly handed the figleaf of the ill-considered Foster/McGuinness letter of August 2016, which stupidly started the ball rolling on special provisions for Northern Ireland, as prime minister of the United Kingdom her first duty should be to the integrity of that Kingdom.

Jim Allister, MLA, North Antrim