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Nicola Sturgeon warns UK Government approach to NI Protocol could trigger trade war and recession

The comments from Scotland’s First Minister come after a meeting with Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill

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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill ahead of a meeting at Bute House, Edinburgh. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill ahead of a meeting at Bute House, Edinburgh. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill ahead of a meeting at Bute House, Edinburgh. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Sinn Fein Assembly leader Michelle O’Neill has met with Nicola Sturgeon where the Scottish First Minister took aim at the UK Government’s plan to take unilateral action on the NI Protocol.

They met at the First Minister’s Bute House residence in Edinburgh on Friday where Ms Sturgeon said it was an "excellent opportunity" to discuss some of the shared challenges Scotland and Northern Ireland face.

The Scottish National Party leader said: "We also discussed the Northern Ireland Protocol - most notably the extremely concerning announcement by the UK Government that they intend to legislate to enable unilateral action to disapply parts of the protocol - and the incredibly damaging effects this would have in communities right across the UK.

"In a cost-of-living crisis and teetering on the edge of recession, pitching us into a trade dispute with the EU could be what tips us over.

"Intergovernmental relations are essential when it comes to tackling shared challenges and it is clear that much more needs to be done by the UK Government to ensure a rapid and effective response to the devastating cost-of-living crisis facing households across these islands.

"No-one should ever have to make a choice between heating and eating."

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Following their meeting, Michelle O’Neill said the pair spoke about the cost-of-living crisis which is bearing down hard on workers and families, and the need for action by their administrations.

“We also discussed the need to ensure the Government in London protect people struggling with soaring costs where we don’t have the powers to act,” Ms O’Neill said.

“I updated the First Minister on our recent elections, and the overwhelming demand from the electorate who have given the parties a mandate to get the Assembly and Executive up and running without further delay.

“The public want us to unlock the £420 million sitting in the Executive’s bank account to support households, and to agree a budget which will invest an extra £1 billion in our health service.”

Michelle O’Neill added: “Both Scotland and the island of Ireland held membership of the EEC and EU from 1973.

“We enjoyed the enormous benefits of our membership until the north of Ireland and Scotland were dragged out of the EU as a result of the Tory Brexit without our consent, and against the democratically expressed wishes of our people.

“Six years on from the referendum the implications are being felt acutely. I had the opportunity to update the First Minister on the Protocol which gives us unique access to the EU single market and the world’s biggest trading bloc and how this is yielding benefits for business and our local economy.”

Michelle O’Neill spoke of “historic bonds” between Scotland and the island of Ireland go back centuries.

“We enjoy a long and enduring affinity, as close neighbours and good friends.

“Moving forward I am determined to strengthen the bond that ties us – politically, culturally and economically - so that our administrations can work together in our shared interests through strong intergovernmental relations,” she concluded.


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