Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: Sinn Fein hits out at 'House of Chaos' after MPs back Brexit delay amendment

Mary Lou McDonald (Liam McBurney/PA)
Mary Lou McDonald (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has said today's vote at Westminster will do nothing to allay the Brexit fears of workers, businesses or farmers.

At a special Saturday sitting, MPs voted by 322 to 306 in favour of an amendment withholding approval of Boris Johnson's Brexit deal until legislation to implement it is in place.

Speaking after the vote, Ms McDonald said: “Today we have witnessed more farce and dysfunction in the British 'House of Chaos'.

“What happened today has nothing to do with Ireland, our interests, our economy or our agreements. No one should be under any illusion about that.

“Today’s antics and bluster will not allay the fears of Irish workers, business or agri foods  producers and our border communities."

The Sinn Fein leader said most people in Northern Ireland did not consent to Brexit, which is being "foisted on them against their democratic wishes".

“Sinn Féin will continue to work to defend Ireland from the worst impacts of Brexit and ensure there will be no hard border, no unionist veto and that the Good Friday Agreement will be protected," she added.

The DUP's 10 MPs voted for the Letwin amendment, with DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson earlier saying that his party will use the extension to seek changes to the Brexit deal.

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann MLA said:  “In the additional time that has now been granted, I urge that all sides in Parliament engage and co-operate to ensure that the wrongs that would have been foisted on the people of Northern Ireland through Boris Johnson's deal are corrected. 

“The Prime Minister has demonstrated that his word is certainly not his bond. If the DUP should learn anything from this debacle, it is that they should never rely on the word of Boris Johnson."

The Prime Minister said he would press ahead and introduce legislation needed to implement his agreement in Parliament next week.

Mr Johnson said: "I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "The EU and UK agreed a Withdrawal Agreement on Thursday that defends Ireland's interests. The Commons voted today to defer a decision on whether or not to ratify that agreement.

"To date, no request for an extension has been made by the UK Government. Should that happen, President Tusk will consult all 27 Heads of State & Government on whether or not we will grant one. Extension can only be granted by unanimity."

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