What the DUP manifesto said about Brexit

What the DUP manifesto said about Brexit

Given the parliamentary arithmetic now at play in the House of Commons, there is now deep interest in what the policy platform of the DUP entails, since their ten MPs look like being crucial in allowing a Conservative administration to get its business through.

At 24 pages, the DUP manifesto was far shorter than the big UK-wide parties but, significantly, included a double-page spread on “Getting the Best Deal for Northern Ireland from the UK leaving the EU”.

The party restated that its formal backing for Leave was “based on principle and practicality”, having opposed EEC membership in the first place and “consistent in its scepticism throughout our membership”.

It reminded readers that it supported David Cameron’s attempt to renegotiate elements of the UK’s relationship with the EU, but in the absence of “the fundamental reform the EU required”, the party continued to advocate for Leave.

In the manifesto, the party promised to “use our mandate and our influence to get the best deal for Northern Ireland”, stating that Brexit brought opportunities as well as challenges, and calling on people to !unite to ensure Northern Ireland’s interests are promoted”.

It stated: “For our part we will work to get the best deal for Northern Ireland,recognizing that we share a land frontier with the Republic and the particular circumstances of our unique history and geography. The circumstances of Northern Ireland are well understood and working together sensibly we have the opportunity to secure a good outcome that delivers for everyone.”

To that end, it then listed no fewer than thirty “priorities and objectives” on which the party wanted to see a focus during the negotiations, which were as follows:

  1. Successful outward-looking knowledge-based economy in Northern Ireland
  2. Ease of trade with the Irish Republic and throughout the European Union
  3. Maintenance of the Common Travel Area
  4. Strengthened relationships across the four components parts of the United Kingdom with no internal borders
  5. Northern Ireland-specific solutions achieved through active Executive engagement
  6. Particular circumstances of Northern Ireland with a land border with the EU fully reflected
  7. Frictionless border with Irish Republic assisting those working or travelling in the other jurisdiction
  8. Progress on new free trade deals with the rest of the world
  9. Comprehensive free trade and customs agreement with the European Union
  10. Northern Ireland established as a hub for trade from Irish Republic into the broader UK market
  11. Customs arrangements which facilitate trade with new and existing markets
  12. Confidence and capacity within local businesses to maximize opportunities
  13. Business to retain competiveness and not face additional costs
  14. Arrangements to facilitate ease of movement of people, goods and services
  15. Proportionate regulatory regime which can promote competiveness, with legislation to suit our local needs
  16. Local input into new UK agriculture and fisheries policies which can offer sustainability and new growth opportunities
  17. Particular importance of agri-food sector to Northern Ireland economy recognised and reflected
  18. Strong protections for agri-food to guard against vulnerabilities to cheap inferior imports
  19. An appropriate support programme for our farmers should continue after we leave
  20. Effective immigration policy which meets the skills, labour and security needs of the UK
  21. Rights of British citizens in the EU and those from EU member states living here safeguarded
  22. Energy market stability
  23. Effective, time bound transitional arrangements where necessary
  24. Higher and further education continuing to attract international expertise and collaboration
  25. Ability to opt-in to EU funds where proven to be cost-effective and add value
  26. Continued participation in funding programmes that have been proven to be of benefit and are open to non-EU members e.g. research funding
  27. Fair share for Northern Ireland from dividends from leaving the EU
  28. UK wide skills and infrastructure funds should be established to lead with an emphasis on regional specialisations
  29. Jurisdiction of European Court of Justice ended and greater control over our laws restored
  30. Positive ongoing relationship with European Union in keeping with Article 8 of Lisbon Treaty.

It concluded: “It is in the interests of all in Northern Ireland that the UK-EU negotiations progress well and that the trade elements commence as soon as possible. The stronger and more positive the agreements reached, especially on trade and customs relationships, then the better for the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland.”