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Farry calls for calm and measured language around Brexit backstop

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said people need to be "calm and measured" in their language around the proposed Brexit backstop.

Dr Farry was speaking after the DUP's Nigel Dodds said discussions on the backstop was "now clearly turning into a battle for the union itself".

"Now is the time we must all stand up for the interests of Northern Ireland, and be calm and measured in our language," said Dr Farry.

"The backstop is not anyone's preferred option but it is there as a necessary safety net. However, a backstop cannot be a backstop if it is time-limited, and the UK Government needs to recognise that reality.

"The Government already made a commitment for a backstop in the December 2017 Joint Report, and text was signed off in the draft Withdrawal Agreement, which indicates the backstop is to apply 'until or unless' another solution is agreed. Any talk of a temporary backstop for Northern Ireland would be reversing those commitments. Certainty on the backstop is vital to maintaining an open border and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

"Nigel Dodds' comments around the backstop is incendiary language which reflects both a sense of desperation and lack of coherent arguments. The backstop is entirely consistent with Northern Ireland's constitutional status and the principle of consent.

"Under devolution, Northern Ireland already does things differently and will do so in the future when it is in the interests of our society. Having a backstop in place is not a threat to the union but rather it will bring people together based on the protection of fundamental interests."