Pro-Remain parties call for backstop agreement on Irish border to be banked

The backstop agreement on the Irish border should be “banked”, pro-Remain parties in Northern Ireland have said.

The backstop means Northern Ireland would continue to follow some EU rules if no better deal can be found. It was agreed between UK and EU negotiators.

Sinn Fein, the nationalist SDLP, Alliance and Green Party said most people, businesses and members of civic society did not want Brexit.

In a joint statement they said: “We have a shared responsibility to protect jobs, economic stability, the environment and people’s livelihoods.

“At the very least, this means avoiding a hard border, protecting the Good Friday Agreement and hard-won peace of the past 20 years, and staying within the single market and a customs union.

“Therefore, as a basis for this, we maintain that there is a pressing need for the backstop as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement to be banked.

“By contrast, we believe that a no-deal situation would be catastrophic for our economy and society.”