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View from Belfast: 'It is a bullying move, but we have reached the stage that someone had to put foot down'

Colin Aughey
Colin Aughey
Simon Johnston
Ellen McKechnie
Edna Gibson and Cathy Dawson
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

After watching former Prime Minister Theresa May in her failed bid to get a Brexit deal agreed by Westminster, the view from the Shankill Road was that the UK finally has a leader prepared to put their foot down.

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While opinions on Boris Johnson and his suspension of Parliament ahead of the UK leaving the EU on October 31 differed, there was general agreement that something had to be done to end the Brexit nightmare.

"It's obviously a bullying move from Boris, but it was always on the cards when he became leader," Simon Johnston said.

"I'm not sure why his opponents are surprised. It had reached the stage where someone had to put their foot down and say 'we've had enough' after all Theresa May's indecision."

Colin Aughey, who runs a business on the Shankill, said he felt despair at the failings of local and national politicians.

"We've mucked this up all the way through," he said. "Northern Ireland could have been in a position to be the gateway to Europe across the Atlantic. Leaving with no-deal might hurt for a while, but long-term there are still going to be benefits.

"I don't think Boris really cares about the Union. He's looking after his party and himself. Whatever he does is going to be risky, but the country can't be split on this any more than it is.

"We need this sorted once and for all on October 31. There should be no other option now, no more messing around. Just do it and get on with it."

Edna Gibson also wanted Brexit to be over.

"Boris is probably the best of a bad bunch," she said. "I'm sick listening to talk about Brexit. We all just want it settled.

"Maybe this way he will get out of the EU without distractions in Parliament, then see what happens afterwards."

Her sister Cathy Dawson was visiting from Canada and had been watching the UK's Brexit negotiations from afar.

"Everyone around the world is aware of what's going on and I think it's about time Britain made some sort of decision. If this is the way to do it, just do it and be done," she said.

James Campbell agreed that something had to be done to move the UK forward.

"Whatever happens, the world will keep turning," he said. "The UK has been a laughing stock these past three years with vote after vote and no decision being made."

But pensioner Ellen McKechnie wasn't sure Boris Johnson was the man the country should be placing its trust in.

"I don't see how one man can make a decision without help," she said. "He can't just say: 'We're doing this my way and that's it'."

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