The EU’s antagonism proves the Backstop was a trap all along

Tensions Colum Eastwood

Tensions Colum Eastwood

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party relies on the DUP and the PM's original proposal received the small party's backing.

Ms Foster claimed the European Union was not interested in a negotiated outcome.

"The comments from the German Chancellor to the Prime Minister that Northern Ireland must remain in the EU Customs Union forever now reveal the real objective of Dublin and the European Union", she said.

"For the United Kingdom to be asked to leave a part of its sovereign territory in a foreign organisation of which the UK would no longer be a part and over which we would have no say whatsoever is beyond insane".

The DUP has remained firmly on the side of Number 10.

"This "'backstop", they proposed, would ensure there was no return of a physical border between north and south - and thereby, they hinted darkly, no risk that we might see a return of the "men of violence", who'd surely kick off without such guarantees.

Later Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O'Neill took the opposite view, insisting Northern Ireland "can't withstand" being excluded from the customs union and the single market.

Johnson says he wants to remove what he calls the "undemocratic backstop" and has proposed replacing it by suggesting that Northern Ireland stay under European Union regulations, customs checks should be made away from the border, and that Northern Ireland's assembly, Stormont, would have the right to vote on the arrangements.

The Foyle MLA said: "EU leaders have listened to the concerns raised by people here and reacted with thoughtful proposals while London, supported by the DUP, has failed to step up to the mark. It is embarrassing, insulting and they are playing a risky game with the livelihoods of people in Northern Ireland".

"Europe has been consistent around the elements that need to be protected, the all island economy, protection of the Good Friday Agreement, no hard border on this island and we need to stay in the customs union and the single market". "They should set aside the Downing Street war games and finally listen to what people here are saying".

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