[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

And it is worth noting that even at the moment, with both the UK and the Irish Republic being members of the European Union, we have checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. If someone travels by bus from Belfast to Dublin, they can be stopped on the main road and their identity will be checked. With the movement of animals, there are checks across the border. The idea that there is no border and there are no checks at the moment just is not true. It does not reflect the reality. These things can be approached sensibly, as they have been in the past. There is no reason why they cannot be dealt with sensibly in the future.

My party does not advocate a no-deal outcome. We want a deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union. We want the Prime Minister to deliver a deal for this country, but we do not believe that what is on the table at the moment is the best deal, and nor is it in the best interests of the United Kingdom.

We have heard a lot of talk today about the backstop. My concern about the backstop is not only its implications for Northern Ireland. I echo the point that if we enter the backstop, it hands a massive negotiating advantage to the European Union, which weakens our negotiating position in the next critical phase of obtaining a free trade agreement with the European Union. That is why I do not believe it is in the interests of the United Kingdom.