The pro-Remain Assembly parties in Northern Ireland have agreed a joint statement co-signed by:
* Michelle O’Neill MLA, Sinn Féin Assembly Leader & Vice-President.
* Colum Eastwood, Leader of the SDLP.
* Naomi Long MLA, Leader, Alliance Party NI.
* Clare Bailey MLA, Leader of the Green Party NI.
“With only eight weeks until the UK exits the EU, the four pro-Remain Assembly parties – Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and Greens – are united in our support for the backstop negotiated by both the European Union and the British Government.
“We continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit, and any opportunity to reconsider Brexit should be taken.
“We believe that while the Withdrawal Agreement is imperfect, it will mitigate against a bad Brexit which is being imposed against the democratic will of a majority of citizens here who decisively voted to Remain within the European Union
“We believe that the ‘backstop’ contained within the Withdrawal Agreement is a vital insurance policy which avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“While it may never need to be deployed, the backstop is the guarantee in all circumstances that no hard border will be re-established on this island.
“Prime Minister Theresa May and her government in their attempts to abandon the ‘backstop’ have demonstrated an enormous act of bad faith.
“Abandoning the backstop would put at real risk the interests, rights and entitlements of the citizens, households, businesses and the Good Friday Agreement endorsed overwhelmingly in 1998.
“While Westminster has voted this week against a No Deal Brexit, it is non-legally binding, and therefore no steps have yet been taken to prevent a catastrophic crash out from the EU on 29 March.
“The EU has been crystal clear in stating that they will not reopen the negotiation on the Withdrawal Agreement, including the ‘backstop’.
“We urge the EU to remain firm in that position and call on the British Government to reconsider the reckless path that they have adopted.”