Nicholson discusses Brexit with ministers

Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Jim Nicholson MEP and the Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP
Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Jim Nicholson MEP and the Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP

Ulster Unionist MEP, Jim Nicholson met with Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington, and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.

During the meeting Mr Nicholson reiterated his concerns in relation to the Prime Minister’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement and discussed the potential consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit for the local agri-food industry and wider Northern Ireland economy.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Nicholson said: “It was a very open and useful engagement with Mr Lidington and Mr Barclay in which I highlighted my concerns regarding the proposed Withdrawal Agreement and in particular the backstop protocol.

“The current backstop proposal directly contradicts the principle of consent enshrined in the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Northern Ireland’s position as an integral part of the United Kingdom is not up for debate.

“If we fix the Withdrawal Agreement and in particular the backstop, we avoid the ‘no deal’ outcome which would have serious consequences for both the United Kingdom and the European Union.”

Mr Nicholson added: “I also explained to the Government Ministers that the lack of an Assembly is leaving Northern Ireland politically rudderless at a time when more than ever, Northern Ireland needs political direction.”