[9th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 3:26 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Jeffrey M. Donaldson Jeffrey M. Donaldson DUP Chief Whip, Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business in the House of Commons) 3:26 pm, 15th January 2019

I am delighted to take part in this debate. My constituency voted by a majority to leave the European Union, but I recognise that there are many voices in opposition to that in Northern Ireland. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister has worked very hard to try to address the concerns that have been raised on both sides of this debate, and I commend her for that, but when I hear Members speaking about the danger that Brexit poses to the peace process in Northern Ireland, I have to refute that notion. I believe strongly in the peace process. I am delighted that in the past 20 years we have seen a reduction in violence—our streets in Northern Ireland have become more peaceful. That is something I want to maintain, and we do not want the clock turned back, but the British people voted to leave the European Union and we must respect their decision.

When we talk about the threat that a hard border could pose to the peace process, I look at what the Irish Government say. I hear the Irish Prime Minister saying very clearly that even in the event of a no-deal outcome, there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. That is the stated position of the Irish Government, and it is the stated position of the Government of the United Kingdom, so where is this hard border coming from?