Using peace process to 'thwart' Brexit is outrageous, DUP deputy leader says

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds

Using the peace process in Northern Ireland as an excuse to "thwart" Britain's departure from the European Union is "outrageous and disgraceful", the DUP's Westminster leader has said.

Nigel Dodds condemned those seeking to use the Belfast Agreement to "shape" Brexit, and called for politicians to go forward in a "pragmatic and sensible way".

Following an urgent question on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's apparent suggestion that a hard border in Northern Ireland remained a possibility, Mr Dodds said: "It is ironic is it not that some of those people who complain hardest about creating a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have today welcomed proposals from the EU which would actually create a hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

"The fact of the matter is that there is a border between north and south: a currency border - there are different currencies, different fiscal regimes, different tax regimes, different economic policies - but it is managed in a way that is sensible and pragmatic.

"The same can be done in relation to the future relationship - it has already been spelt out in the Government's paper last August.

"To use the Belfast Agreement, or more despicably to use the peace process as an excuse to either thwart Brexit or to shape it in the way some people want is quite frankly outrageous and disgraceful."

He urged MPs to "back the arrangements that are in place but let us go forward in a pragmatic and sensible way".

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington replied: "There is of course a jurisdictional border which gives rise to tax and other differences as well, but those are managed currently as he says in a way that allows people to go about their lives on either side of that jurisdictional border without any kind of hindrance or delay whatsoever.

"Both we and the Irish government are determined to ensure that that state of affairs continues but also respecting the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom."