Brexit: Mixed political reaction to Brexit text

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image captionDUP leader Arlene Foster said it would be "democratically unacceptable" for NI trade rules to be set by Brussels

Political reaction to news of a breakthrough in the Brexit talks has been mixed.

Democratic Unionist Party:

Party leader Arlene Foster said the DUP's "desire for a deal will not be superseded by a willingness to accept any deal".

"An agreement which places new trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain will fundamentally undermine the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom," Mrs Foster said.

"That is not acceptable. Over time, such a deal will weaken the union. No unionist Prime Minister could argue that such a deal is in the national interest.

"It would be democratically unacceptable for Northern Ireland trade rules to be set by Brussels. Northern Ireland would have no representation in Brussels and would be dependent on a Dublin government speaking up for our core industries. "

Deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, said the prime minister may have difficulties persuading ministers and MPs to support the draft text.

Tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Simon Coveney:

A spokesman for Mr Coveney said the Irish government was not commenting on media speculation.

"Michel Barnier and the Taskforce are charged with negotiating with the UK and we are in constant communication with them throughout," he said.

image source, PA
image captionSimon Coveney said the Irish government would not comment on media speculation

Michel Barnier, EU chief Brexit negotiator:

Mr Barnier's spokesman adopted a cautious tone.

"We are not there yet," he said.

"The UK cabinet will meet tomorrow. We will take stock at the midday presser."

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image captionBoris Johnson said he hoped the cabinet would reject the agreed text

Sinn Féin:

Leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was a "matter of concern" that "some are presenting the backstop agreement as temporary".

"Brexit is for the long term and what is required is a durable, permanent and legally robust agreement that safeguards Irish interests and ensures there is no hard border on the island of Ireland," she said.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader:

Mr Corbyn said the party would look at the details of the deal when available.

"But from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country.

"Labour has been clear from the beginning that we need a deal to support jobs and the economy - and that guarantees standards and protections. If this deal doesn't meet our six tests and work for the whole country, then we will vote against it."

Boris Johnson:

"This is vassal state stuff. It is a quite incredible state of affairs," the former foreign secretary said.

"I hope the cabinet will do the right thing and reject it."

Jacob Rees-Mogg:

Mr Rees-Mogg said he hoped the cabinet would block the agreed text.

"Trust in politics is very important. It's important the country can trust the prime minister," he said.

"If this document turns out to be accurate, then it will be very difficult to trust anything that comes out of Downing Street".

Ulster Unionist Party

Party leader Robin Swann said the the next 24 to 48 hours of Brexit negotiations "will set the direction of travel for Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom for decades to come.

"The bottom line for the prime minister, the Conservative government and their partners in the DUP must be the achievement of a sensible deal which respects the result of the referendum and maintains the integrity of the United Kingdom," he said.

"There must be no ambiguity, constructive or otherwise, in any deal about Northern Ireland`s place within the Union in a post-Brexit UK."


Party leader Colum Eastwood welcomed the news.

"We've always said that we don't want Brexit to happen at all and if it is going to happen, we'd prefer that Northern Ireland and Britain stay in the customs union and single market."

He said he thought there was still potential for that to happen and that it would be the most sensible outcome.

Alliance Party:

Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry said people should remain measured in their reaction.

"These reports are encouraging, but we must remain cautious ahead of the publication of any text and in anticipation of the internal politics of the UK government and Parliament playing out," he said.

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