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Long tells PM that the backstop is crucial for Northern Ireland

November 27, 2018 7:38 PM

Naomi LongAlliance Leader Naomi Long led a party delegation to discuss the Withdrawal Agreement with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

While Alliance continues to oppose Brexit, Mrs Long stressed that the strong view in Northern Ireland is that a no deal situation needs to be avoided at all costs and that most people here want to bank the backstop.

Naomi Long added: "Alliance will always maintain there is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit. We believe that any opportunity for a People's Vote should be taken.

"But, if Brexit is to proceed we recognise that this Withdrawal Agreement is as good as it gets. It can't be unpicked or renegotiated. There may be alternatives in terms of the future relationship, but for now there is no alternative to a deal including the Northern Ireland backstop as it is currently framed.

"The strong majority view in Northern Ireland is that a no deal situation would be catastrophic for our economy and our society and must be avoided at all costs. In turn, most people want to bank the backstop. They understand that it protects the economy and in many ways it gives this region the best of both worlds. And most crucially it protects our Good Friday Agreement and avoids a hard border.

"It is important that everyone understands that the view and approach of the DUP is not representative of Northern Ireland and is not defending the interests of this region. Our view, and the view of the business community and large elements of civic society, is that we want to bank the backstop."

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