Belfast Telegraph

MP makes speech about 'our best friend' Ireland's 'catastrophic situation'

Alistair Burt.
Alistair Burt.

A Conservative MP has made an impassioned speech in the House of Commons about how Ireland is being put in the "most catastrophic situation".

Alistair Burt, who was among the 21 MPs to defy Boris Johnson by voting to block no deal, said some colleagues have treated this country "as some sort of irrelevance".

Speaking on Wednesday night he said Ireland was portrayed as "a place where they have made up the border issue to try prevent us leaving the EU".

"With our history in relation to Ireland, everything that happened there, they became our best friends in the European Union.

"Our choice to leave, our Brexit, has put them in the most catastrophic situation of any country.

"And we now expect them to accept another English demand that they should do something. Have we no understanding of what that relationship means?" the representative for North East Bedfordshire said.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney tweeted a response to the statement, thanking Mr Burt for his contribution.

"I can assure you Ireland will work with UK and EU to find a deal that works for everyone; but it must be on basis of recognising and solving the complex and very real problems that Brexit causes for island of Ireland, as the WA [Withdrawal Agreement] does," Mr Coveney said.

It came just hours after Mr Burt announced he will not be standing in the next election. He was stripped of the Tory whip after voting to allow the Opposition seize power from Boris Johnson on Tuesday’s night.

Explaining his decision not to stand again in a letter to party members, Mr Burt said: "It has become clear that I have a fundamental and unresolvable disagreement with our party leadership on the manner in which we leave the EU, and the consequences going forward of doing so.

"This is very likely to be at the root of the next election, and I believe it is unfair of me to present you with a conflict of interest between my views and those of the party at an election, even if current circumstances do not result in my having the whip in Parliament removed."

Mr Burt has been an MP since 1983.

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