Unionists are united in their opposition to the Brexit deal agreed with the EU by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The DUP said the agreement undermines the integrity of the Union, while the UUP said it effectively “annexes Northern Ireland” from the rest of the UK. The TUV, meanwhile, described it as a “betrayal”.
The prime minister announced the agreement with Brussels yesterday and urged MPs to “get this excellent deal over the line”.
But the proposed customs arrangements for Northern Ireland differ from those for the rest of the United Kingdom.
Under Mr Johnson’s deal, Northern Ireland will remain aligned with European single market regulations on goods. This means checks will be carried out at ports and airports on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The DUP, whose votes could be crucial in determining whether the agreement will be passed by MPs in the House of Commons tomorrow, is emphatic in its opposition.
Deputy leader Nigel Dodds said Mr Johnson had been “too eager by far” to come to an accommodation “at any cost” with the EU.
And leader Arlene Foster said the proposals on gaining the consent of the Assembly on a straight majority basis represented a fundamental change to the Good Friday Agreement.
UUP leader Robin Swann said: “This deal is worse than the one Theresa May brought forward at Chequers. It’s awful. It would put a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea and annexes Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said: “The inescapable reality is that a permanent regulatory and customs border cutting us off from GB puts us in a waiting room for Irish unity with the door locked from the outside.
“The scale of the betrayal is shocking.”