Letter to the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Following yesterday’s rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I am writing to reiterate our strong view that the Backstop mechanism must be upheld to protect the interests of the people of Northern Ireland.
On the 23 June 2016, the people of Northern Ireland expressed their clear wish to remain in the European Union; since that time their voice has either been misrepresented on the benches of Westminster, misunderstood or ignored altogether.
The majority of people here, including business leaders, the agri-food sector and border communities, as well as many members of your own party, are agreed that short of no Brexit at all, the Backstop is vital in protecting our interests in Northern Ireland. This voice cannot be ignored.
The SDLP have no interest in either inter or intra-party conflict in London. Regardless of the chaos and division in Westminster, the fact remains that there is no way to avoid a hard border in Ireland if Northern Ireland leaves the Customs Union and Single Market. That is why a Backstop is essential.
Therefore, I am asking that you provide the people of Northern Ireland with a commitment that the Labour Party, a long-standing ally of Northern Ireland and our peace agreements here, will support the implementation of the Backstop.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood