On the 17 January 2017, I asked the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Mr David Davis about what arrangement will the UK Government make to accommodate the 70% of my constituents who voted to remain in the EU and intend to retain the benefits.
Alasdair McDonnell “I commend the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) for her sanity and common sense, and the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) for bringing a degree of integrity to the discussion.
Does the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU recognise that I, and thousands of others in Northern Ireland, will not be leaving the EU willingly? We recognise the very significant benefits that have flowed from EU membership. We hold EU passports and we intend to retain them. What arrangements will he make to accommodate us, the people like me and the 70% of my constituents who voted to remain in the EU and intend to retain the benefits? Will he, while he is at it, perhaps tell us how he intends Northern Ireland to have its voice heard at Joint Ministerial Committee meetings and in the negotiations generally over the next three months?”
David Davis “Since the beginning of this process—since I took up my post—we have put the preservation of the stability and the interests of Northern Ireland pretty much at the top of the tree of the negotiations, particularly on issues such as maintaining an open border and preserving the economic basis of Northern Ireland, which is very dependent on trade with the Republic of Ireland. On the JMC, I do not know if it has gone yet but yesterday I approved a letter to the Northern Ireland Executive—although the next Government is now subject to an election, most Ministers are still in place—asking that during the interim period they send representatives, whether ministerial or otherwise, so that we are always across the interests of Northern Ireland. The hon. Gentleman must take it as read that I am absolutely committed to maintaining the stability, peace and prosperity we have got used to in the last several years.”