24/06/2016

PM To Stand Down As UK Votes To Leave The EU

Prime Minister David Cameron is to stand down after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU).

Mr Cameron said the result was the "will of the British people" and the country required "fresh leadership".

He hopes a new leader will be in place in October.

However, the majority of Northern Ireland voted to remain in the UK by a majority of 56% to 44%.

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA said it is a "sad day".

He said: "Despite Northern Ireland voting Remain, we are being dragged towards the unknown by England. The consequences of leaving will be severe for Northern Ireland, never mind the rest of the UK.

"The Leave campaign promised that that money saved would be directed, for example, to the health service. The DUP, which has helped lead us into this mess, now needs to stand up and ensure that Northern Ireland receives its fair share of the alleged savings. Local businesses and the environment will suffer and the Green Party will work to ensure the DUP is held to account.

"Already there are reports that the Leave campaign has spun lies and mistruths over immigration and NHS spending. This is disgraceful. I now worry about border controls, human rights and how we will treat immigrants, who contribute to our economy in so many ways."

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada said: "56% of the electorate in the north have rejected the right-wing agenda of the British Tory party, yet English votes have overturned their democratic will.
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"The British government has no mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the EU and therefore I am now reiterating our previous calls for a referendum on Irish Unity.

"It is unacceptable that a majority in England and Wales can alter the constitutional status of the North against the wishes of the people there.

"I am calling for consensus amongst political leaders in the South, as they meet today, on the need for such a referendum.

"Sinn Féin has been clear that Ireland's role, both North and South, is to seek progressive change in Europe from within the EU.

"Whilst recognising the democratic deficit at the heart of Europe, and the neo-liberal tendencies within the bloc, our approach is to critically engage with the EU."

Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, said: "Despite the clear majority within Northern Ireland voting to Remain within the European Union, we must respect the overall result and deal with it and its implications, political, financial and social.

"There is no evidence that the Executive has been planning for this outcome. They need to move very quickly to reassure the public that there is a plan, because the full implications for Northern Ireland may not be clear for up to two years.

"I am very disappointed but not surprised that the deputy First Minister's reaction was to introduce further uncertainty by calling for a border poll on a united Ireland. If he really was the First Minister for all that he claims to be, he would not be taking such an opportunistic and party political stance. I call on the Secretary of State to make clear she will not initiate a referendum on Northern Ireland's constitutional future."

(CD/JP)

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