The TUV leader Jim Allister has said that a Northern Ireland only Backstop would breach the Act of Union.
This follows a late night debate in Westminster which took place ahead of the proroguing of Parliament.
MPs voted again on calling a snap election, a vote which the government lost for a second time, under the ‘Fixed Term Parliament’ act rules.
However the PM could be forced to ask for a further extension to Brexit past October 31 following a new act rushed through earlier this week.
Parliament will now not meet until October 14, the Queens Speech.
A Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister at the hint that the backstop could still be considered, reads;
“With pro-EU forces and media feverishly now pushing for a Northern Ireland only backstop, it is time to take cognisance of a fundamental constitutional imperative.
“A Northern Ireland only backstop would require NI to belong to the Customs Union of the EU and, therefore cease to be part of the Customs Union of the United Kingdom. Such, I believe, would be unconstitutional, because Art 6 of the Act of Union 1800 is still law.
“Its meaning is clear in declaring (in today’s parlance) that all parts of the United Kingdom shall share in the same Customs Union and, moreover, shall be on the same footing in any treaties made with foreign powers.”
Referencing Article Sixth – Subjects of Great Britain and Ireland to be on same footing from 1 Jan. 1801.
“That it be the sixth article of union, that his Majesty’s subjects of Great Britain and Ireland shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and one, be entitled to the same privileges, and be on the same footing as to encouragements and bounties on the like articles, being the growth, produce, or manufacture of either country respectively, and generally in respect of trade and navigation in all ports and places in the united kingdom and its dependencies; and that in all treaties made by his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, with any foreign power, his Majesty’s subjects of Ireland shall have same the privileges, and be on the same footing as his Majesty’s subjects of Great Britain.”
Explaining how a Breach of the Act of Union would occur, Mr Allister went;
“Abandoning NI to the EU’s Customs Union would subject us to a different tariff regime which would offend Article 6. Future U.K. trade deals would not apply to NI, thus, again denying us the same privileges.
Accordingly, a NI only backstop is antithetical to Art 6 of the Act of Union and would amount to the breakup of the U.K.
“Moreover, a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU would be a treaty. Art 6 affords us the right to be treated on the same footing as GB. A NI only Backstop would infringe that.
“So, any attempt to allow NI to become an annex of the EU, set apart from the Customs Union and single market of the U.K., is likely to face fundamental legal challenge.”