Posted on June 9, 2017

End of Hard Brexit: The Letter Written by DUP Demanding May Keeps Free Movement

Rebecca Perring, Express, June 9, 2017

Arlene Foster

Arlene Foster

While Brexiteers breathed a sigh of relief when Theresa May confirmed she would seek to partner up with the DUP, has unearthed a shocking letter which shows the party’s real motives and view on Brexit.

The letter written in August, penned by then First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster and her then deputy Martin McGuinness, makes numerous demands to maintain ties with the European Union (EU). They included freedom of movement rights and trade links.

In the letter Ms Foster said: “It is critical to our economy that our businesses, both indigenous and FDI companies, retain their competitiveness and do not incur additional costs.

“We therefore need to retain as far as possible the ease with which we currently trade with EU member states, and, also importantly retain access to labour.

“Policies need to be sufficiently flexible to allow access to unskilled as well as highly skilled labour.”

Prime Minister Theresa May scrambled for an alliance with the DUP after a shocking night at the polls, with Conservatives losing a total of 12 key seats.

Mrs May said she had a “strong relationship with” the DUP.

But Arlene Foster’s plans to keep freedom of movement within the Brussels club will undermine Mrs May’s for a hard Brexit to deliver the will of the people.

Ukip MEP Bill Etheridge, who today threw his hat into the ring to become his party’s next leader, attacked the alliance saying “any deal which included freedom of movement would not be Brexit”.

He said:”Sadly Theresa May has put us in this situation with her decision to call that unnecessary election.

“The British people voted for independence from Brussels and that means freedom to control our borders and the ability to trade with the rest of the world.”

The DUP bosses said Ireland relied on EU funds that have been “hugely important to our economy and the peace process”.

It said: “Since 1994, for example we have benefited to the tune of €13billion of funding from Europe and during the period 2014-2020 we would expect to draw down over €3.5billion.”

“The current uncertainty around the ability to drawn down a proportion of these funds, and the absence of EU programmes in the future is a real concern to a range of factors.”

Earlier this afternoon, Mrs May said would work with her “friends and allies” in the DUP.

She added: “As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist party in particular.

“Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.”

DUP leader Ms Foster said they would would be entering talks with the Conservatives to discuss “how it may it be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge”.