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If you believe in democracy, you will support the new Brexit deal

Gary Hynds, Deputy Chair and Party Spokesperson as part of the Northern Ireland Conservatives (and our Northern Ireland advisor!), discusses the Prime Minister's new Brexit deal, and why by supporting it is the only way to show that you are a true believer in democracy.

As a proud Conservative & Unionist Party member in Northern Ireland, I was of course keeping a close eye on Boris & his Brexit strategy. I listened intently and defended him passionately in various areas as he slammed the undemocratic backstop. This, for avoidance of doubt, was a mechanism which fundamentally broke the Good Friday Agreement by smashing through the principle of consent, while also leaving the entire United Kingdom at the hands of the EU. Totally unacceptable for all those who believe in democracy and who voted to leave to take back control.

This new agreement, whilst not perfect, gives us control over our own future. It makes sure the entire United Kingdom leaves the customs union, while also ensuring Northern Ireland has its democratic say on our future with the EU and Republic of Ireland in terms of the single market. Yes, indeed there will be an all-Ireland regulatory zone created, however, this will not go ahead without the agreement of Stormont and consent of the people of Northern Ireland. Even if (a big if in my view) Northern Ireland does indeed decide to remain in the single market and go into this zone, we will have a way out every 4 years if we feel it is not working out for the people of our part of the United Kingdom. For some reason those who have been shouting loudest about the Good Friday Agreement are protesting this deal mainly based on it securing a democratic say for the citizens of Northern Ireland. Do these people not the think the citizens of Northern Ireland deserve a say on our way forward? Does the principle of consent not matter anymore?

Another argument made against this deal from certain parties in Northern Ireland is that it will cause a 4-year cycle of referendum type elections, with the elections being about our future trade with the EU and GB. I can only assume this is a deliberate political tactic from these people, who seem to have no issue with every single election in Northern Ireland being fought on the constitutional settlement. Why is it ok for elections to be fought on this platform all the time, yet not fought on our future trade? I would indeed argue that elections based on the future of our trade would be one way to normalise politics here and bring it down to actual issues, rather than the same tired old arguments. Is this what some fear? Actual issues being discussed and argued over?

It is indeed laughable to see people vigorously oppose this deal, while being prepared to support the backstop, and even an NI-only backstop, something that was entirely undemocratic, which not only smashed through the Good Friday Agreement, leaving the people of Northern Ireland with no say, but also left the entire UK stuck in most part of the European Union, being unable to leave without the agreement of the EU, what a ludicrous position for any supposed democrat!

This new proposed deal not only allows the entire United Kingdom to leave the EU completely, but it also gives the people of Northern Ireland consent over our future, nothing a true democrat should oppose. In terms of politics I feel those opposing this proposed deal are allowing their masks to slip. Truth is, these people do not want us to leave the EU, they also wanted a land grab on Northern Ireland as “punishment” for the people of the UK daring to vote to leave. In this deal Boris has secured our exit, secures the Northern Ireland peace process, secures democratic consent and secures the entire United Kingdom’s freedom from the shackles of the EU. This deal should be grabbed by both sides, if it is not then we will end up with a “no deal” Brexit and those who do not believe in democracy and who simply won’t negotiate in good faith will be to blame.

Gary Hynds

Deputy Chair & Party Spokesperson

Northern Ireland Conservatives