'˜Scrap backstop plan if you want DUP support,' warns MP

DUP MP Jim Shannon has reiterated the party's position that the only way it will support the Prime Minister's Brexit deal is if the backstop arrangement is ditched entirely.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 3:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 5:39 pm

The Strangford MP was speaking in the Commons earlier during the second of five scheduled days of debate on withdrawal agreement.

The Government is frantically trying to win over MPs ahead of the crunch vote in Parliament next Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Tory administration published details of new measures designed to assuage the fears of its DUP allies.

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Jim Shannon MP

Addressing Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Mr Shannon spelled out in no uncertain terms what steps the Government would have to take to secure the support of the 10 DUP MPs.

He said: “Minister you will understand quite clearly the position of the DUP in relation to the backstop and the fact that my constituents very clearly voted to leave.

“You have been to Northern Ireland, you have met the MPs and the unionist people, and you understand their position.

“Can I suggest to you minister that the only thing you need to do now is remove the backstop, as that is the only way you will gain our support.”

In response, ardent Brexiteer Mr Gove said: “I hope over the course of the next few days that we can help to ensure that all the interests of Northern Ireland are more effectively safeguarded than ever within the United Kingdom.

“As I pointed out, the backstop is uncomfortable for many of us, but it is also uniquely uncomfortable for the European Union, which is one of the many reasons why I think we will conclude a deal before that (the end of the implementation period).”