Foster says Brexit vote deferment sums up government’s ‘chaotic’ approach

DUP leader says British prime minister ‘must get rid of the backstop’

DUP leader Arlene Foster: “The prime minister was warned that this deal would not work but did not listen.” Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

DUP leader Arlene Foster: “The prime minister was warned that this deal would not work but did not listen.” Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said British prime minister Theresa May “must get rid of the backstop”.

Speaking following a telephone call with Ms May, Ms Foster said deferment of the vote on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons “just about sums up the chaotic nature of the government’s approach to these negotiations”.

“The prime minister was warned that this deal would not work but did not listen,” she said.

“The fundamentally flawed withdrawal agreement would have undermined our United Kingdom economy and the union itself. The backstop would have left Northern Ireland trapped as a hostage to the European Union.”

She said the backstop – the agreement that there will be no hard border in Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit – “is not needed”.

Promises

“No one is building a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,” she said.

“I was categorical that pledges, promises or piecemeal remedies will not work. Unless it is part of the legally binding international treaty, it will not fly with the DUP.”

A statement from the North’s four main Remain parties – Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance, and the Green Party – said there was a “pressing need for backstop to be banked”.

“The four Remain parties, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good Brexit and our preference is for no Brexit at all. We recognise that the majority of people, businesses and civic society do not want Brexit either.

“By contrast, we believe that a no-deal situation would be catastrophic for our economy and society.”