13/03/2019

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."



(JG/CM)

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

15 March 2019
Murder Probe After Man Found Dead In East Belfast
Police have launched a murder investigation after the death of a man at a house in east Belfast. It happened in the Kyle Street area in the early hours of this morning, Friday 15 March. Two men have been arrested and remain in custody. Police remain at the scene as detectives from the Major Investigation Team investigate.
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.
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.
14 March 2019
Masked Men Armed With Knife Rob North Belfast Business
Detectives are appealing for information after an armed robbery in north Belfast last night. Two masked men entered a premises, while armed with a knife, on the Ballysillan Road shortly before 9.40pm on Wednesday 13 March.
14 March 2019
Other News In Brief
Six Released Unconditionally Over Bessbrook Death Six people arrested on suspicion of murder after a man's body was found in Besbrook, County Armagh, have been released unconditionally. The decision follows a post-mortem examination, which led police to determine that the death can no longer be treated as murder.