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Tories rule out joint authority for north

James Brokenshire claimed people who vote for nationalist and republican parties do not necessarily support a united Ireland. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

THE Conservative party has again ruled out joint authority for the north if efforts to restore devolution fail.

The pledge was contained in the NI Conservatives' manifesto, which was launched yesterday in Belfast.

It mirrors a statement in January from Tory Northern Ireland Office under secretary Lord Andrew Dunlop.

Under the heading 'Our precious Union', the regional manifesto states that the north's future should be determined by the the principles set out in the Good Friday Agreement, including "democracy and consent".

"We will not countenance any constitutional arrangements – such as joint authority over Northern Ireland between the United Kingdom and Ireland – that are in any way incompatible with the consent principle," it said.

A Conservative Party spokesman told The Irish News that everything in the regional manifesto was the policy of the party in Britian.

"If a Conservative government is elected, this is the programme we will implement," he said.

Meanwhile at the manifesto launch, Secretary of State James Brokenshire claimed people who vote for nationalist and republican parties do not necessarily support a united Ireland.

He said the conditions for calling a border poll on unification were "not remotely satisfied".

"Obviously we keep these issues under very close and careful review but I think in terms of the way people vote, that people may vote for one party but that doesn't necessarily mean they want to see a change to the institutions, that they want to see a change to the foundations that underpin all of that stability that has been achieved from the Belfast Agreement and thereafter," he said.

Mr Brokenshire also said a returning Conservative government would move "quickly" to provide greater transparency around political donations in Northern Ireland.

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