Labour’s manifesto on Northern Ireland could pose a dilemma for the DUP

Below is the key Northern Ireland passage from the constitutional section of Labour's newly-published manifesto. What's most interesting is the commitment to avoid a regulatory border in the Irish Sea as well as at the land frontier. 
This is in sharp contrast to the Conservatives' Brexit deal, which would create a sea border, something which Boris Johnson sought to obfuscate during this week's television debate.
The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has said that his party could still have leverage against this deal if the Tories don't win a large majority. That, however, ignores two things. 
Firstly, all Conservative candidates have signed a pledge to back Boris's Brexit deal as it stands. If Johnson wins an overall majority, he wll have the strongest possible mandate for that deal.
Secondly, Johnson also has leverage in that time pressure will favour his 'oven-ready' deal over an attempt at renegotiation. Indeed, even if he loses seats that factor may still give the deal a chance as long as the Conservatives remain in office.
The DUP's most realistic route to preventing an Irish Sea border is supporting an opposition majority for an alternative Prime Minister. If they can't commit to that course, there's a strong argument that the re-election of the DUP's Nigel Dodds in North Belfast would be functionally equivalent to electing Sinn Fein's abstentionist John Finucane in terms of preventing a sea border going through the Commons.
 Labour manifesto – constitutional issues – Northern Ireland 
The Good Friday Agreement and long-term peace in Northern Ireland is one of the great achievements of Labour in government. Therefore, as a priority, Labour will work quickly and tirelessly to secure the return of a genuine power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. The devolved power-sharing institutions have not been running in Stormont for over 1,000 days. 
During this period people have suffered in the face of a funding crisis as austerity continues to damage public services, which Labour will resolve. Working with a new assembly and power-sharing government, Labour will invest an extra £1.9 billion to end austerity and rebuild public services in Northern Ireland.
Women in Northern Ireland should have access to abortions in Northern Ireland. A Labour government will fully implement new laws on equal marriage in Northern Ireland so that same-sex couples are no longer treated as second-class citizens. 
We will work with all major parties in Northern Ireland to provide a good platform for the restoration of devolution alongside bringing forward and implementing  a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.A Labour government will also protect Northern Ireland and its people in any future Brexit outcome by ensuring that there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or the creation of a regulatory border down the Irish Sea.







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