Unionists must all oppose this deal as one

As votes in the House of Commons with regard to the draft Withdrawal Agreement are crucial, any self-professing Unionist MP should be aware of the risk this agreement poses to the future of the United Kingdom.

This agreement ironically agreed on the November 14, 33 years to the day before the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed in 1985, will be another nail in the coffin for the Union Mrs May allegedly holds dear.

Lady Sylvia Hermon (Independent)  pictured during the  2017 Westminster election

Lady Sylvia Hermon (Independent) pictured during the 2017 Westminster election

In negotiating this Agreement, Mrs May has, in effect, divided the Union by cutting Northern Ireland loose and at the behest of the rulers of the EU.

May has accepted the nonsense of an argument about the impact Brexit would have on the so-called ‘all-Ireland’ economy, despite the fact that NI trades more with the rest of the UK (as does the Republic of Ireland).

Mrs May has been caught like a rabbit in the headlights and left only one option for Unionist MPs: to vote it down.

This Agreement will ensure that NI is treated differently from the rest of the UK. It has been argued that the Agreement, contravenes two pieces of legislation. The first, and the very basis of the Union is the 1800 Act of Union, and second, the NI Act 1998 (or Belfast Agreement in layman’s terms).

Of the eleven Unionist MPs from NI, 10 have stated that they will vote against it – the ten being DUP MPs.

The eleventh MP, Sylvia Hermon for North Down, who is a self-identifying Unionist, appears, however, to be wavering towards supporting Mrs May. It is unusual for an independent MP to get to go into No 10 Downing Street, but Lady Hermon is an exception, as she did so on Monday of last week. The answer as to why is that every vote will count.

Despite the assurances Lady Hermon has received, whether given orally or in written form, they are worthless – just like the letter one Mr Blair gave one Mr Trimble on a dark night in April 1998, providing ‘assurances’ over the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons.

Any self-professed Unionist should vote against this in Parliament. That is their duty in order to secure and maintain the very Union that was secured some one hundred years ago.

Tens of thousands of Ulstermen, be it during the first or second world wars, or in more recent years – in defence of our Province from terrorists – did not pay the supreme sacrifice for Mrs May to write Northern Ireland off the map of the United Kingdom. Unionists, including Lady Hermon, must stand firm and oppose this treacherous Agreement while they have the chance.

Dr Andrew Charles, Belfast, BT9