Brexit

Michael Gove warns no-deal Brexit could lead to direct rule

Michael Gove warned that direct rule may be implemented in the event of a no-deal Brexit 

Britain's environment secretary Michael Gove has warned a no-deal Brexit could lead to the British government imposing direct rule on the north.

Speaking in the House of Commons ahead of tonight's vote by MPs on whether to rule out a no-deal Brexit, Mr Gove said if the UK failed to reach an agreement with the EU. there would be "the very real possibility of imposing a form of direct rule."

Mr Gove told the parliament that it would be "a very grave step, and experience shows that it would be very hard to return from that step, especially difficult in no-deal."

His comments have been interpreted as a warning to the DUP to back Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement. The party's 10 MPs voted against the plan last night and are expected to vote in favour of keeping a no-deal Brexit as an option this evening. Nigel Dodds told Sky News that keeping the threat of a no-deal Brexit open is the best way to achieve an agreement with the EU.

Mr Gove made his comments today in answer to a question from North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon about the vulnerability of Northern Ireland in a no-deal Brexit.

Earlier today, the British government confirmed that no import tariffs will apply to goods entering Northern Ireland across the border under "strictly temporary" plans that would come into effect if an agreement is not reached between the UK and the EU.

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