McGrory – DUP must stay true to their manifesto promises and stand up against hard Brexit

The Democratic Unionist Party must not abandon their opposition to hard Brexit, as outlined in their manifesto, the Open Britain campaign says today.

An analysis of the DUP’s manifesto shows its support for a less extreme Brexit than the vision currently being pursued by the Government. The DUP’s Brexit priorities, outlined in its manifesto, include: 

  • Retaining a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the continuation of the Common Travel Area;
  • A comprehensive free trade and customs agreement with the EU;
  • Safeguarding the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU;
  • Continued participation in EU programmes such as research funding.

The support of these policies in the DUP’s manifesto should rule out their support of a Brexit with no deal, even though that scenario is not mentioned in the manifesto.

In her speech in Downing Street earlier, DUP Leader Arlene Foster promised that one of the principles of the agreement would be “supporting an exit from the European Union that benefits all parts of the United Kingdom.”

Commenting, James McGrory, Executive Director of Open Britain, said:

“The Democratic Unionists have chosen to prop up a Government that remains intent on a hard and destructive Brexit. It is crucial that they do not betray the voters by going back on their manifesto promises and caving in to Ministers’ obsession with an extreme and chaotic exit from the EU.

“They told the people of Northern Ireland and the whole of the United Kingdom that they would fight to keep the Irish border open, to retain totally free trade between Britain and the EU, to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and to continue British participation in important EU programmes. 

“Furthermore, at no point did they repeat the Government’s absurd mantra that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. There is simply no mandate for the Government’s threat to wreck our economy by leaving the European Union with no deal.”


Notes to editors:

In its manifesto, the DUP calls for devolution to be restored “To help achieve the best deal for Northern Ireland as the UK leaves the EU – at precisely the time when Northern Ireland’s voice needs to be heard loudly and clearly the Northern Ireland Executive has not been formed. If we are to deal with the challenges and seize the opportunities that leaving the European Union presents then we need our own local Ministers lobbying London and Brussels.” 

The DUP lists the following among their “priorities and objectives” for Brexit in their manifesto:

  • “Ease of trade with the Irish Republic and throughout the European Union.”
  • “Maintenance of the Common Travel Area.”
  • “Particular circumstances of Northern Ireland with a land border with the EU fully reflected.”
  • “Frictionless border with Irish Republic assisting those working or travelling in the other jurisdiction.”
  • “Comprehensive free trade and customs agreement with the European Union.”
  • “Business to retain competiveness [sic] and not face additional costs.”
  • “Arrangements to facilitate ease of movement of people, goods and services.”
  • “Rights of British citizens in the EU and those from EU member states living here safeguarded.”
  • “Continued participation in funding programmes that have been proven to be of benefit and are open to non-EU members e.g. research funding.”

Nowhere does the DUP’s manifesto agree with the Conservatives that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.” 

The DUP’s 2017 Westminster manifesto is here:

Open Britain is campaigning against a Brexit with no deal:

Open Britain in no way endorses all of the DUP’s wider policy platform, such as its views on abortion, climate change, or LGBT rights.