NI Parties Split On Brexit Way Forward

Northern Ireland's political leaders appear to be split on a way forward for Brexit, as Parliament prepares to vote on the possibility of a no-deal crash out of the EU.

Less than 24 hours after Theresa May's amended Brexit deal was rejected by the House of Commons, there have been calls for a People's Vote and extension of Article 50 from the region.

The Democratic Unionists will take part in the vote on no-deal this evening, but are yet to officially confirm their intentions.

Meanwhile, leader of the Alliance Party Naomi Long has said a People's Vote needs to be tested in Parliament as a matter of urgency.

The east Belfast MLA said no-deal should be taken off the table in the short-term, but Brexit should be reconsidered in its entirety.

"The clearest, most coherent and most democratic route through this impasse lies with a People's Vote, including both the Prime Minister's deal and the Remain option. This needs to be tested in Parliament."

Green Party leader Claire Bailey supported the position that a People's Vote remains the "only answer", as the Brexit negotiations stagger "from farce to fiasco".
News Image
With 16 days to go until the UK leaves the EU, the south Belfast MLA said the no-deal preparations published today are "ridiculous", with the agri-food sector warning of disastrous economic impact.

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist Party Chief Whip, Steve Aiken, called for the extension of Article 50 to allow time for exploring alternatives which can help resolve the current Brexit chaos.  

"In the absence of any leadership or vision from HMG, the DUP or the EU, we reiterate our call for an extension of Article 50 to allow time for exploring alternatives- including, clearly, establishing a 'common goods area'- an idea that has already been accepted within today's announcement on the tariff free border. 

"Secondly, let us accept- as Parliament has overwhelmingly already done so twice- that the backstop is dead and that Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney have, as we have said on numerous occasions, overplayed their hand and delivered the exact opposite of what they desired. 

"We need a new Withdrawal Agreement, and if it is to be based on 'securing' the Belfast Agreement, let us focus on going back to the factory settings of the Belfast Agreement, getting the institutions to work properly, and drop the pretence of pretending the Backstop was anything other than an attempt to impose joint authority by another name."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 May 2019
£300k Scheme To Transform Teaching Strategies
A new programme is set to inject more creativity into classrooms in a bid to improve educational outcomes for students. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is backing the strategy along with the Education Authority and Urban Villages Initiative, following a successful pilot scheme in 10 post-primary schools last year.
21 May 2019
8.1% Of NI Youths Out Of Work
16,000 young people in Northern Ireland aged between 16 and 24 are not in employment, education or training (NEET), it has emerged. The Labour Force Survey, released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) found that 8.
06 August 2015
Call For Free Vote Regarding Same-Sex Marriage
There are reports that two churches in Northern Ireland have called for the region's politicians to be allowed a free vote regarding same-sex marriage. It is understood representatives from both the Catholic church and Presbyterian church have said party whips should be removed on the issue when it is next debated at Stormont.
21 May 2019
Opinions Sought On Alcohol & Drug Misuse
The Department of Health is seeking views from the public on alcohol and drug misuse and what can be done to address the issue. Interested parties are urged to submit their opinions as part of a pre-consultation exercise to help inform future policy direction for reducing alcohol and drug related harm.
15 November 2013
Energy And Food Top Concerns For Elderly
The price of energy and food is among the top concerns of pensioners in Northern Ireland, according to a new report. Worries about accessing health and social care have also risen significantly over the last year. The report summarises the findings of the 2013 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament.