24/11/2021

DUP Question Labour Over Shadow Secretary's Comments On Union

The DUP has questioned if the opinion of the Shadow Secretary of State on advocating for the Union represents the views of the UK's Labour Party.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart raised the issue after the Shadow Secretary Louse Haigh reportedly claimed that UK political parties or the UK Government advocating for Northern Ireland's position within the United Kingdom would be a breach of the principle of consent.

Ms Lockhart said: "Less than six months ago Sir Keir Starmer was clear that he would campaign for Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom in any future border poll. The comments of Louise Haigh not only contradict these but demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the principle of consent.

"There is an irony that the Shadow Secretary of State criticised the Prime Minister in her interview for his custodianship of an Agreement which she either doesn't understand or has chosen to misrepresent.
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"It is simply wrong to suggest that the United Kingdom Government must remain neutral on Northern Ireland's constitutional position. It relates the fact that any decision to change Northern Ireland's constitutional status will be decided and voted upon by the people of Northern Ireland. The principle of consent no more precludes the UK Government from promoting the Union than it prevents the Irish Government for advocating that Northern Ireland be removed from the United Kingdom.

"It is important to know who speaks for the Labour Party on this issue.

"Whilst even Louise Haigh recognises the strong support for the Union rules out any border poll, her comments strike at a more fundamental issue. That is the repeated misquoting and misinterpretation of the Belfast Agreement to drive a political agenda. The common theme is that unionist interpretation and views are not taken into consideration."

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson will meet Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer this evening in London.

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