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Labour SP: The Strabane Setback
Caroline Blakesley spoke to the press at a setpiece event on The Wirral, where her speech was given in a place with a nice backdrop of the Irish Sea, regarding the Strabane Setback negotiated by the Prime Minister.

Quote:Good afternoon.

I recently reviewed the Prime Minister’s proposed solution to the Northern Ireland backstop – his so-called “Strabane Solution”. Reading this document it is clear: this is not a solution, this is a setback. For three years, since the referendum, we made clear that the United Kingdom must remain whole and united. Our sacred union between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland must absolutely be respected and upheld. The Strabane Setback throws our United Kingdom into question – it throws our union out the window.

The opposition to any agreement that divided our United Kingdom was not just Labour. Theresa May, as Prime Minister, declared that “No British Prime Minister could agree to a border down the Irish Sea”. Boris Johnson called a border down the Irish Sea a “monstrosity”. Steve Baker declared that a border in the Irish Sea “does not respect Northern Ireland’s status in the UK”. These are not people trying to frustrate Brexit that declared this was not a solution. These are not people trying to block Brexit that declared Will Croft’s Strabane Setback a “monstrosity”.

And they are right. Will Croft’s Strabane Setback represents the worst of all worlds. It represents the potential for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and a regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. At a time when our United Kingdom needs to be brought together, the Strabane Setback would leave Northern Ireland isolated, alone. That is not just abandoning our brothers and sisters, our fellow man and woman, in Northern Ireland. That is creating an existential risk for the future of our Union.

That is a monstrosity. That is not a risk that any Prime Minister can take. Yet, that is the path that this Prime Minister seeks to go down. To end the unfettered commerce that we shared between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for centuries. To leave one nation behind while the rest move in a new direction. To tear our country apart. That is a monstrosity. That is unacceptable.

There is another way. There is a solution that would keep the United Kingdom united – remaining in the Customs Union. This would allow our entire island to benefit from free movement of goods with the European Union. Whether you are a business in Belfast or a manufacturer in Manchester – a customs union between the United Kingdom and European Union would provide support to workers and businesses across our nation.

The customs union would keep Great Britain and Northern Ireland united. There would be no regulatory barrier in the Irish Sea; there would be no border checks. There would be no need for customs checks when a business sends goods from Cairnryan to Larne. There would be no customs checks as goods flow in and out of ports on The Wirral. We would not force our fellow countrymen crossing the Irish Sea to make customs declarations. We would keep our common purpose, our bonds of brotherhood that tie our nations together. We would preserve our United Kingdom.

The Strabane Setback is a step that Will Croft is taking to damage our union. Far from being the Minister for the Union, he is the Prime Minister that will break the Union. No leader that values our United Kingdom can endorse the Strabane Setback. No leader that believes in a whole and free United Kingdom can stand behind this proposal. Any leader that wants to lead our United Kingdom must find a better way. And there is a better way. It must be delivered.
Caroline Blakesley MP DCB
Prime Minister (June 2019-)
MP for Manchester Central (2015-) | Labour
Traits: Fundraising Extraordionare, Campaign Guru, Media Darling, Constituency Pariah
Fun fact, this location is where Boris announced the irl new Backstop cue the more you know. This is a smart angle for the Labour leader to run at because whilst hard Brexiteers would sell Northern Ireland, their kidney, and their mother to get Brexit done a lot of moderates (heck even myself) would not. The attacks linking Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and Chairman of the 1922 Committee Steve Baker together are excellent. You also outline a moderate and soft Brexit which, although unlikely to win you friends in many places, draws moderate Brexiteers out of the woodwork a little bit, at least until the next time somebody mentions a People's Vote. You also sell your soft Brexit well to business (helpful in the richer Tory areas) and even to the moderate remainers, both of whom you will be able to keep with you against any Con/BXP counter attack.

2x XP for Blakesley

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