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Unionist

Nigel Dodds 'would stay in the EU rather than risk Northern Ireland's place in UK'

The DUP deputy leader said that he wanted Brexit to be delivered, but not if it would risk Northern Ireland’s status within the UK.

THE DUP’S DEPUTY leader Nigel Dodds has said that he would prefer staying in the European Union than risking Northern Ireland’s position in the United Kingdom.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight after Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement was defeated for a third time this afternoon, Dodds said that when asked about his preferences:

I would stay in the European Union and remain, rather than risk Northern Ireland’s position. That’s how strongly I feel about the union.
My concern about the Withdrawal Agreement is that it creates potentially under the backstop trade barriers. But as we leave, the backstop and future negotiations could leave Northern Ireland behind, causing economic and political ruptures between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

He went on to say that he wanted Brexit to be delivered and the result of the referendum respected, but added that it “can’t be at the risk of separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK”.

The DUP’s 10 MPs voted against Theresa May’s deal this afternoon. It lost by a majority of 58 votes.

After the vote and before MPs left the chamber, Nigel Dodds urged Theresa May to look at the Irish backstop again. “She knows that that remains a problem.”

“She knows that the EU and Leo Varadkar has said that there will be no hard border… Use the time constructively to get that matter sorted out,” he said.

The EU, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Theresa May have all repeatedly said that the Withdrawal Agreement is not up for renegotiation.

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