Northern Ireland news

DUP `driving Northern Ireland towards catastrophic no-deal crash' - Sinn Féin

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and fellow MPs say they `would support the right deal'. Picture by House of Commons/PA Wire

THE DUP has been accused of "driving us all towards a no deal catastrophe", after its MPs votes helped defeat the Withdrawal Agreement last night.

Sinn Féin northern leader Michelle O'Neill accused the party of "(continuing) to ignore these warnings, just as they ignore the fact that the majority of people in the north voted against Brexit in the first place".

"It is time to put people’s jobs, livelihoods and peace first before selfish party political interests.

"... The business community, the farming community, the civil service, educationalists and trade unionists have all warned in recent weeks about the dire consequences of a No Deal crash on our economy."

The DUP were clear from early yesterday that it would not support the deal, describing Theresa May's progress in Monday's last-ditch negotiations in Strasbourg as "limited".

Ian Knox cartoon 13/3/19: Ruby Walsh takes a tumble on Benie Des Dieux at Cheltenham. Theresa May returns from a late night flying visit to Strasbourg horse voiced but hopeful, but as the day proceeds, lawyers pour more rain on her hopes than the skies over Cheltenham 

In a statement the party said: "It is clear that the risks remain that the UK would be unable to lawfully exit the backstop were it to be activated."

It cited the last paragraph of the UK attorney general's legal advice that `the legal risk remains unchanged that if through no such demonstrable failure of either party, but simply because of intractable differences, that situation does arise, the United Kingdom would have, at least while the fundamental circumstances remained the same, no internationally lawful means of exiting the protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement'.

Describing the EU as "intransigent", it insisted its 10 MPs would "support the right deal which respects the referendum result and Northern Ireland's place as an integral part of the United Kingdom".

Its decision was described as "highly influential" on many of the Conservatives who rebelled in the first "meaningful vote" over concern about the impact of the controversial backstop.

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