Labour Party Leader calls on Government to spell out EU ‘no deal’ support to Ireland

26 July 2019

Reacting to comments by the hard line UK Conservative European Research Group MPs, who have threatened to block any revival of the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May even without the Irish backstop, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, has called on the Government to actively engage the EU on detailing the level of support that will be available to Ireland if the UK exits with no deal.

Brendan said: “It is time to put ‘flesh on the bones’ of possible EU support for Ireland in the event of a no deal Brexit.

“There are no indications that the UK Government are prepared to engage seriously with the issue of no deal. Rather it is tied up in a further round of parliamentary games. While Labour welcomed the Government’s update on no deal planning published before the summer, we indicated that it was conspicuously short of detail – particularly on the level and nature of financial and other support Ireland can expect to receive from the EU. It is time to end this uncertainty.

“I have been of the view for some time that a UK general election or new referendum, or both will be necessary to proceed. It seems clear now that the new British Prime Minister is engaged in pre-electoral manoeuvring rather than serious engagement with the EU. Ireland cannot afford to waste time watching this play out. The possibility of no deal is stronger than ever now and we need to prepare for it.

“Represents of the hard line ERG were on British television last night to indicate there is no withdrawal agreement that they will sign up to. This is the final nail in the coffin. Labour’s position on the backstop is clear. It provides legal protections that are appropriate, proportionate and necessary to retain the open border. We will continue to press the Government to stand by it in all circumstances. Yet judging by the ERG reaction to the new administration, it is clearly not a solution to Mr Johnson’s parliamentary problems.”

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