Nigel Dodds – 2019 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Nigel Dodds, the DUP MP for Belfast North, in the House of Commons on 19 October 2019.

Weariness in this House over Brexit should not be an excuse for weakness on Brexit or weakness on the Union. This party has supported respecting the people of the United Kingdom’s referendum decision to leave the European Union. We have supported that and we continue to support that, but it must be Brexit for the whole of the United Kingdom—leaving the single market and the customs union if that is what the rest of UK does, along with the rest of the UK. This deal puts Northern Ireland, yes, in the UK customs union, but applies, de facto, all the European customs union code.

The Prime Minister indicated dissent.

Nigel Dodds

Yes, it does. Read the detail. It also puts us in the VAT regime. It also puts us in the single market regime for a large part of goods and agrifood, without any consent up front, contrary to the agreement made in December 2017, which said that regulatory difference could happen only with the consent of the Executive and the Assembly. It drives a coach and horses through the Belfast agreement by altering the cross-community consent mechanism. It was once said that no British Prime Minister could ever agree to such terms. Indeed, those who sought the leadership of the Tory party said that at the Democratic Unionist party conference. Will the Prime Minister now abide by that and please reconsider the fact that we must leave as one nation together? There may be special circumstances for Northern Ireland, but that can only be with the consent of the people of Northern Ireland, Unionists and nationalists together. That is the basis on which the peace process—the political process—has advanced. He must respect that.