Belfast Telegraph

No deal Brexit threatens UK and will cause unrest, says Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley

Secretary of State Karen Bradley has refused to comment on reports Cabinet ministers discussed the possibility a no-deal Brexit will lead to a poll on a united Ireland but did say it would have huge implications for the UK.

But she did say a no-deal Brexit could put in jeopardy the UK's constitutional arrangements, by creating "feelings of unrest".

"No deal is bad for the whole United Kingdom, because it does put in jeopardy some of those constitutional arrangements," She told the BBC.

"I'm sure it will create feelings of unrest with people in all parts of the UK who didn't want to see us leave the EU."

It was reported that Mrs Bradley issued the warning at Tuesday's meeting of the Cabinet.

It was claimed she said a border poll on the reunification of Ireland was "far more likely" if the United Kingdom crashed out of the European Union without a withdrawal agreement in place.

Under the Good Friday Agreement, a referendum on Irish unity can only be called by the Northern Ireland Secretary if there is evidence a majority would vote in favour of reunification.

Asked about her reported warning, Mrs Bradley said she would not comment.

"I am not commenting on what may or may not have been said at a private meeting, but I am well aware of my statutory obligations under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and I am well aware the constitutional status of Northern Ireland is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland," she said.

"My job as Secretary of State is to deliver a deal that gets us out of the European Union as one United Kingdom and is good for everybody in the United Kingdom, and that means everybody in Northern Ireland, and that's what I am working to deliver."

Asked if a no deal would lead her to review whether the conditions for a poll had been met under her statutory obligations, she said "I know what my obligations are and I am well aware of them.

"The point here is, though, we have a way of leaving the European Union in an orderly way that is good for the United Kingdom and the Union. I want to see us deliver on that," Mrs Bradley said.

"I want to see members of Parliament vote for the Withdrawal Agreement, so we can leave as one United Kingdom in a way that is good for the whole United Kingdom."

She has insisted the Prime Minister's Brexit agreement is the "best thing" for the future of the Union.

On a visit to Belfast on Friday, she was asked by the Press Association whether a no deal would make a border poll more likely.

She responded: "I've said that I believe the best thing for the United Kingdom, the whole United Kingdom and the Union of the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union together as one UK with a deal. That is the best thing for the United Kingdom and that is what I am focused on delivering."

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