Northern Ireland news

Unionist veto dropped as British government shows willingness to accept a simple majority endorsement of any future arrangements.

Michel Barnier has indicated that the British government is willing to accept a simple majority endorsement of any future arrangements.

SPECULATION persists that any Brexit deal will include measures that will enable Northern Ireland to opt in or out of a revised backstop.

Sources in Brussels yesterday said EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has indicated that the British government is willing to accept a simple majority endorsement of any future arrangements.

The recent suggestion that the Stormont assembly could decide on whether to proceed with single market alignment and customs union membership was met with widespread scepticism, as it appeared to give the DUP a potential veto through the petition of concern.

However, there has also been a cool response to speculation that consent could be given via a regional referendum

In her response yesterday to the latest developments in the negotiations, Arlene Foster said since December 2017, the DUP had insisted that "democratic consent was required in circumstances where Northern Ireland would align alongside specific sectors of the EU single market".

"Those who know anything about Northern Ireland will appreciate that these issues will only work with the support of the unionist as well as the nationalist community," she said.

Secretary of State Julian Smith has said he could not envisage a scenario where "one community has a veto" over future Brexit plans.

He said the British government was looking to reach a "cross-community approach".

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Smith would not dismiss suggestions that a referendum was among the measures being considered.

He said there were "a range of options" for finding consent for the latest proposals.

"The key thing is we have to have regard to the Good Friday Agreement and have regard to the need to have a cross-community approach to how we resolve this," he said.

Mr Smith said that a number of options would be looked at to resolve the issue but would not be drawn on the detail.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: