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No such thing as a good or sensible Brexit, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said while she is relieved a potential agreement between the EU and UK on a the latter's exit from the EU is closer, there remains no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit.

Speaking after Prime Minister Theresa May said the Cabinet backed the draft Withdrawal Agreement, Mrs Long said Alliance's preference remained a People's Vote on Brexit.

"We are relieved there is a potential agreement between the EU and UK on a Withdrawal Agreement, including a backstop which meets the conditions set out in Joint Report from December 2017 and which is supported by representatives of the majority of people in Northern Ireland," he said.

"The backstop is not a threat to the constitutional position here. Rather it is an insurance policy based on existing precedents, and helping us to better survive Brexit.

"However, there is nothing to celebrate because there is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit. The backstop is a last resort safety-net, the bare minimum to protect the Good Friday Agreement and to avoid a hard border. But only as insurance against a much worse fate. Practically, it is a third party fire and theft policy rather than a fully comprehensive one.

"Great care and responsibility around language is vital over the coming days. The parliamentary path for Brexit remains uncertain. Our first preference continues to be Brexit itself is reconsidered through a People's Vote. We believe Parliament should put this deal to a referendum with Remain being an option on the ballot."