DUP condemn Theresa May after Brexit legal advice confirms customs checks between Britain and Northern Ireland

Posted On: 
5th December 2018

The DUP has launched a furious attack on the Prime Minister after legal advice on her Brexit deal confirmed it will mean customs checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Nigel Dodds's party is in a confidence and supply agreement with the Government.
PA Images

Nigel Dodds, the party's deputy leader, said attorney general Geoffrey Cox's "devastating" conclusions proved the province will be treated differently from the rest of the UK in future.

The Government finally published the six-page document after being found in contempt of Parliament for previously refusing to do so.

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In it, Mr Cox states that: "GB is essentially treated as a third country by NI for goods passing from GB to NI. This means regulatory checks would have to take place."

Elsewhere, the legal advice also confirms that the so-called "backstop" designed to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU to avoid a hard Irish border could become a permanent arrangement.

The document says: "Despite statements in the Protocol that it is not intended to be permanent…in international law the Protocol would endure indefinitely until a superseding arrangement took its place."

Mr Dodds - whose party props up Mrs May's minority government in the Commons - took to Twitter to make his anger with the Prime Minister clear.

On the customs checks between Britain and Northern Ireland, he said: "For all the Prime Minister’s promises and pledges the legal advice is crystal clear. In her words, no British Prime Minister could ever accept such a situation."

And on the advice itself, Mr Dodds said: "Devastating from AG ....The legal advice just published proves NI would be in full EU Customs Union while GB is not. Goods passing from GB to NI will be subject to a declaration process. “GB is essentially treated as a third country by NI for goods passing from GB into NI."

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: "Having reviewed the attorney general’s legal advice, it’s obvious why this needed to be placed in the public domain.

"All week we have heard from Government ministers that releasing this information. could harm the national interest. Nothing of the sort. All this advice reveals is the central weaknesses in the Government’s deal.

"It is unthinkable that the Government tried to keep this information from Parliament - and indeed the public - before next week’s vote."