The former First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Good Friday Agreement, was highly critical of Theresa May’s backstop. Trimble, who now sits as a Tory peer, wrote a paper for Policy Exchange on how ‘The Backstop Would Wreck the Good Friday Agreement’
In a sign of how much better the new deal is in terms of consent, Trimble has this morning issued a statement saying that the new Brexit deal is ‘fully in accordance with the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement’ and that now ‘is not the time to be looking for excuses not to implement either the Good Friday Agreement or the new deal.’
Here’s his statement in full:
‘Yesterday’s agreement is a great step forward. Whilst, previously, the people of Northern Ireland were to have an agreement imposed on them, now we have a mechanism for the consent of the people of Northern Ireland. This is fully in accordance with the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.
What we now want to see is for the DUP and Sinn Fein to act together to bring the Good Friday Agreement back to life. This is not the time to be looking for excuses not to implement either the Good Friday Agreement or the new deal.’
Trimble’s statement is very significant. It should give reassurance to any MP concerned about the implications of this agreement for Northern Ireland, the Union and the Good Friday Agreement.