By Liz Jones, UKIP Leadership Candidate
This is my Leadership campaign policy statement regarding Northern Ireland in a post-Brexit United Kingdom
- Agriculture and Fisheries
- I select these two issues first because of their proportionately larger importance to the economy of the Province, than to mainland Britain.
- I support fully our 2015 Manifesto pledges to bring in a modified Single Farm Payment to replace all CAP subsidies in agricultural land, as well as our recommendations in the 2015 Manifesto for promoting and exploiting our existing good animal husbandry practices as well as encouraging further improvements, as set out fully in the sections on Dairy and Sheep, the Environment, GM Foods, Labelling, and Animal Health & Welfare.
- I support our two fisheries waters and zones – the 12-mile UK-only zone and the 200-mile exclusive economic zone; I stand by all the proposals in our Fishing Manifesto.
- I have made it a point in my Leadership Hustings campaign speeches and my speech to Young Independence Annual Conference in Manchester, all within the last few weeks, that I want a UKIP government to fully honour our military covenant with HM Armed Forces and their families, dependents and veterans.
- I want a UKIP government to fully honour our commitment to spend 2% of GDP on our Defence budget.
- I want to end the rundown of our recruitment of full-time serving members of HM Armed Forces
- I want a better equipped Army and a Navy with more vessels, fit for the 21st Century – coastal patrols and fisheries protection, rapid response, a nuclear submarine fleet with a fully functioning up-to-date nuclear deterrent and minimum 2 submarines at sea at all times.
- I will maintain the status of all of our overseas bases including the Falklands Islands, Gibraltar and Cyprus.
- In the specific case of Northern Ireland, I want to maintain a full Regiment of the Army in Northern Ireland and be ready and capable of responding to any increased security threats in the province, in full accordance with the wishes of the Assembly and the Parties of Northern Ireland and their representatives in Westminster.
- I will retain a Northern Ireland Office in London and a Northern Ireland Secretary of State in a UKIP government.
- The financing of this increased military expenditure will come mostly from the current Overseas Aid budget.
- Brexit and the UK’s Borders
- In general since joining the EU, the UK has allowed the borders of our country to become almost totally porous to one and all and thus we have a colossal number of illegal immigrants and over-stayers within the Realm, some of whom pose a severe security threat. Ironically the only exception to this perilously lax drift away from the protection of our national borders was the higher levels of security at the border between the ROI and Northern Ireland during The Troubles.
- The UKIP 2015 Manifesto did not address this issue of the UK border with the ROI in light of a decision to leave the EU.
- Since the Good Friday Agreement there has been a marked increase in two-way cross-border activity between the ROI and Northern Ireland, both legal and illegal.
- Inevitably as the Party does not yet have a specific policy, and of course neither does HM Government, these are only my draft suggestions to go towards agreeing that policy.
- We cannot allow a ‘soft’ backdoor for illegal immigration into the UK by maintaining the status quo in Northern Ireland, so there will have to be a re-imposition of border controls between the ROI and Northern Ireland. UKIP’s immigration policy will apply to all visitors to the UK across this border in the same way as all of our other borders and points of entry.
- I do recognise however that there would be plenty of cases where exceptional arrangements could be negotiated between Dublin, Belfast and London for bi-lateral understandings for ROI and UK citizens – not least for cross-border families, cross-border landholders, frequent crossers (commercial or personal), and even Season Ticket-style arrangements. These would go through a fast-track entry, separate from UK Passport holders and non-UK Passport holders. This would be provisional upon ROI reciprocity. We could call them Special Visa Holders. This occurs in the case of USA-Canada, USA-Mexico, and there was once such an agreement between the UK and the USA as well.
- A case-by-case review in the event of trade barriers or other unforeseen costs and inhibitions to fair and honest economic and social activity could be addressed by a Joint ROI/UK border body which could be added to one of the several ROI-UK co-operative bodies already in existence.
Deputy Chairman, UKIP Lambeth
20th August 2016