Belfast Telegraph

Alderdice: let MLAs play a role in talks

By Noel McAdam

A former Stormont Speaker has called for the Assembly to be allowed to continue even if efforts to restore an Executive finally fail to ensure Northern Ireland has a say in the Brexit negotiations.

Ex-Alliance leader Lord Alderdice said he feared Northern Ireland "will find it very difficult to get any look-in at all" in the negotiations.

His call has been backed by the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman on Northern Ireland, Baroness Alison Suttee, who is a member of the EU Lords Committee.

She told the Belfast Telegraph she had repeatedly raised the Northern Ireland issue as regards Brexit.

"I have put this question to the Government about how Northern Ireland's voice is going to be heard, and I have to say we haven't yet heard an answer," she said.

But she added the elected MLAs remained available. "It's not beyond the imagination to find some sort of alternative, particularly along lines suggested by Lord Alderdice," she said.

"There is so much at stake for NI, and the agri-food industry in particular. Everybody we have been speaking to in Brussels and elsewhere is aware of the issues regarding Northern Ireland and agrees in principle about no return to a hard border, and the peace process being upheld, but no one is coming up with the actual practical solutions."

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