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Protocol isn’t perfect, but best way to protect GFA, says Alliance

The Alliance Party has called on the UK Government to honour its previous commitment to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, as the best way forward for Northern Ireland rather than risk irrevocable damage to the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking during an Assembly debate, Alliance Party MLAs argued that whilst what’s currently in place isn’t perfect, it is best placed to guarantee the continued protection of the status quo in Northern Ireland.

Stewart Dickson said: “It seems nothing is ever settled when it comes to Brexit. Especially now the Prime Minister has suggested through the Internal Market Bill that his Government could potentially override elements of an international treaty signed only months ago – a move that has been viewed shamefully by the rest of the world, especially in the eyes of America where a much sought after trade deal seems increasingly unlikely

“Whilst it is near impossible to understand what the UK Government is doing, the fact remains Brexit will have a detrimental impact on Northern Ireland. That’s why we need the Withdrawal Agreement. As a basic structure it is not perfect, but as an insurance policy in which to maintain our economic, political and social lives it has merit.”

Andrew Muir added: “I find it utterly bizarre that the UK Government thinks it is supporting businesses in Northern Ireland at this uncertain time by threatening to collapse the protocol, securing a hard border in Ireland, whilst destroying an well built up international reputation in the process.

“Local people – the majority of whom voted to remain – deserve better when it comes to their futures than a reckless Government determined to put only itself first, rather than think through the consequences for the society we have built in Northern Ireland.

“Brexit, as Alliance has always campaigned, will be a disaster for Northern Ireland. This protocol is far from perfect and we could have been facing different circumstances had other decisions been taken to date. We cannot pick and choose the laws we follow and the Government would do well to remember that.”