Brexit

DUP claims post-Brexit northern MEPs would breach principle of consent

Diane Dodds has rejected the idea of MEPs for the north after Brexit. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

RETAINING representation for Northern Ireland residents in the European Parliament would violate the Good Friday Agreement's principle of consent, according to the DUP.

The party's MEP Diane Dodds, who is due to be made redundant next year when the UK leaves the EU, said allowing people north of the border to vote in European elections after Brexit would "redefine the benefits of Irish citizenship".

Mrs Dodds said the DUP recognised that Irish citizens in the north would have the right to EU citizenship but this did not mean "giving license to those with wider political agendas who wish to rewrite the terms of previous agreements".

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil appear to support the idea of giving the north post-Brexit representation in Brussels and Strasbourg by reallocating the extra two seats the Republic will receive from the redistribution of the UK's 27 seats in the European Parliament. The SDLP is also supportive.

On Wednesday, Sinn Féin published its submission to the Republic's Constituency Commission, which is consulting on how the two seats will be allocated.

The party believes any future voting rights in European elections should not be restricted solely to Irish citizens in the north.

But Mrs Dodds responded yesterday by insisting that the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union will be "implemented in every region of the United Kingdom".

"This means that Northern Ireland will no longer vote in elections to the European Parliament as powers are restored to our sovereign parliament at Westminster," she said.

"Calls to the contrary simply amount to grandstanding with no basis in law – the EU treaties highlight that the rights of those holding an Irish passport do not include voting rights unless they reside within the member state."

The DUP MEP accused republicans of seeking to "renegotiate and expand" the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which she said would violate the principle of consent.

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