Northern Ireland news

EU must not use Northern Ireland as 'bargaining chip'

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds walks past the House of Commons in London

THE EU must not use Northern Ireland as a bargaining chip in Brexit talks, the DUP has warned.

The party's deputy leader Nigel Dodds was speaking yesterday after the meeting between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker.

Mr Dodds said progress being made was encouraging.

"Behind the soundbites and the negotiating positions it is clear that work has been ongoing to secure an agreement to allow a sensible and managed exit from the European Union," he said.

"The fact that discussions are to intensify and will soon be on a daily basis should be welcomed by everyone.

The Belfast Agreement is still held up as a key factor in reaching a deal. The European Union should not use Northern Ireland as a bargaining chip, but should recognise the principle of consent and parity of esteem which are also included within that document."

The best way to build on the progress made in Northern Ireland, Mr Dodds said, was to "secure an agreement that can be supported by unionists as well as nationalists".

"The rhetoric may not have been toned down from all participants, but the space is available for an agreement to be found, if there is the will to do so. It should be clear to everyone in the European Union that the prime minister is serious about securing that agreement," he added.


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