Northern Ireland news

Ireland's Future disappointed by shadow SoS Peter Kyle's claim that there is 'no serious prospect' of a border poll

Peter Kyle said he would trigger a referendum as secretary of state only when the 'calls become serious'. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

IRELAND'S Future has said it is disappointed by shadow secretary of state Peter Kyle's claim that there is "no serious prospect" of a referendum on Irish unity in the near future.

But the civic nationalist group welcomed the Labour MP's commitment to remain neutral in a border poll.

In one of his first interviews in his new role, Mr Kyle said he would trigger a referendum as secretary of state only when the “calls become serious”.

Adopting a line similar to his predecessor Louise Haigh, he told the BBC the north would be "master of its own destiny".

"That is something we have very proudly stood by. We will not act in a way that is seen to be coercive on Northern Ireland," the shadow secretary of state said.

But he added: "Let's be very clear, there is no border poll on the agenda at the moment, there is no serious prospect of it."

Ireland's Future secretary Niall Murphy said Mr Kyle's remarks on a border poll were disappointing but he welcomed the commitment to neutrality.

"The reality is that future constitutional change is now fixed on the political horizon and we need to be planning for that eventuality," he said.

He urged the shadow secretary of state to meet people from a variety of backgrounds who "see their future in a new, forward-looking, united Ireland".

DUP deputy leader Paula Bradley said the shadow secretary of state's comments demonstrated that the focus should be on making the north work rather than "chasing destabilising pipedreams of a border poll".

However, she said Labour leader Kier Starmer had previously indicated that he would campaign for the north to remain in the union.

"Hopefully this position will eventually be understood by the rest of the Labour Party's ranks," she said.

"Ultimately, the Dublin government is far from neutral in its view of Northern Ireland's place in the UK."

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