During yesterday’s debate in the Assembly Jim Allister made the following comments:
“I support the motion and oppose both amendments. The Alliance amendment, of course, wishes to take us back. It wishes to drag us against the democratic will of the people of this United Kingdom to effectively remain in the EU. Members will have heard me probe with Dr Farry whether it was about access to or belonging to the single market, and he made it plain that their amendment was geared to remaining in the single market. By the act of staying in the single market, we utterly disrespect the decision of this United Kingdom to leave the EU. It is all the baggage of the single market that caused people to want to leave the EU. The baggage of its relationship with the customs union, of not being able to make a single trade deal for yourself and of having to accept untrammelled free movement of labour are the very things that caused the wise people of the United Kingdom to vote to leave the EU. Saying that we must remain within the single market is to utterly disrespect that decision. I am disappointed to hear that the Ulster Unionist Party, having said that it accepts the outcome of the referendum, intends to vote for the Alliance Party amendment.
“Outside the EU and single market we would be master of our own negotiations. We would not have to depend on Brussels, with all its attachment to endless hideous bureaucracy, to negotiate anything for us. We would, in fact, have a seat at the table, which we do not have in the WTO. We, the United Kingdom, would have a seat at the table and therefore could negotiate for ourselves. Outside the EU, we could also make the trade deals. The whole economic argument about leaving the EU is made on the simple premise that you want to follow the growth. The growth in the world is not in the moribund EU, where the economies are failing and falling; the growth in the world is elsewhere. Yet, there are those who want to tie us haplessly to the very place in the world that is failing economically instead of lifting their eyes to the vision of what lies out there in the world where the growth is. That is why we have to get mastery over our trade deals and our regulation.
“I was disappointed to hear the proposer from the DUP say he is minded to accept the Sinn Féin amendment. It takes the one salient, useful thing out of the DUP motion, namely recognising the opportunities that leaving the EU presents to improve external sales. The DUP, having put that in the motion, is now prepared to see it written out of it in pursuit of a negative spin about recognising the effects of the result of the referendum and its significant implications for businesses. Worse than that, the last phrases of the Sinn Féin amendment are about setting the ground for opt-out. It says:
“That can happen only on an opt-out. Did we not hear the Prime Minister say there can and will be no opt-outs? We entered as one nation, we leave as one nation and the United Kingdom Government negotiate for us. I am disappointed at the tendency towards accepting that amendment. The DUP was absolutely right not to accept the Taoiseach’s invitation to whatever forum he is setting up. It would be absolutely wrong to accept the amendment, which, in the same tenor and towards the same direction, takes out of its motion the very thing that is most important, namely grasping the opportunities to build our future where the growth is: outside the EU.”