Sinn Fein signals willingness to co-operate with pro-Remain parties to challenge DUP

Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill
David Young, PA

Sinn Fein has signalled a willingness to co-operate with other pro-Remain parties to challenge DUP Brexiteer candidates if a general election is called.

Party vice president Michelle O'Neill did not rule out electoral pacts with other "progressive" parties to maximise the chances of taking seats in Northern Ireland.

Mrs O'Neill also made clear Sinn Fein would not be reconsidering its Westminster abstentionist policy ahead of any snap poll.

She was at Stormont on Wednesday to chair an election planning meeting with party colleagues.

"Clearly we are moving very quickly towards an election, the Sinn Fein team stands ready to fight that election," said Mrs O'Neill.

"This election will be about Brexit, this election will be about fighting back very hard, very strong against the Tory/DUP sponsored Brexit that brings nothing good for our people here, nothing good for our economy, nothing good for our peace process."

Sinn Fein has joined forces with the SDLP, Alliance Party and Green Party at various junctures in the last few years to articulate joint positions on Brexit developments.

On the prospect of working with other pro-Remain parties during an election campaign, Mrs O'Neill said: "Of course we have to be open to working with other parties, as we have done throughout the course of the last two and a half years.

We have been able to work with the other progressive, pro-Remain parties in making sure that our voice is heard very strongly in that we want to protect the Good Friday Agreement, that we voted to remain and there is nothing good to come from Brexit."

Asked whether the party would be prepared to stand aside in certain constituencies to give another pro-Remain candidate a better chance of taking a seat from the DUP, she replied: "The party will clearly have to discuss all of those things, but what I have said is we have clearly stood on a progressive agenda of working with other parties, where we can send out a very clear message that we say no to Brexit, that we want to protect the Good Friday Agreement and that people here voted to remain - that will guide us through the conversations and discussions that may occur."

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