I welcome what the Prime Minister has said about the backstop because he knows, as the entire House knows, that that is one of the fundamental reasons why the withdrawal agreement could not get through this House. Not only is it anti-democratic in the sense that laws would be made for the economy of Northern Ireland and nobody in Belfast or London would have any say at all in the making of them, or even ask questions about them, but it is contrary to the principles that people say they believe in, in the Belfast agreement and the St Andrews agreement, which requires the consent of both communities, and no member of any Unionist party in Northern Ireland supports the backstop.
I also welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to a deal, because we are committed to getting a deal—a good deal for Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. When he meets the Irish Prime Minister on Monday, which I welcome, can he convey to the Prime Minister, as we have tried to convey to him, that it would be entirely sensible and reasonable for him to sit down with us, and other representatives of Unionists in Northern Ireland, for direct discussions, which would be very helpful in the current atmosphere, but which the Irish Government have consistently—amazingly—refused to do, while at the same time preaching to others about the need for conciliation and movement and progress? So I appeal to the Prime Minister, on behalf of everyone in Northern Ireland, to try to get some momentum into the discussions between the Irish Republic and Unionists in Northern Ireland on this vital issue.