Belfast Telegraph

No-deal will give terrorists the impetus they need to bring violence back to NI, says ex-Secretary of State

Shaun Woodward
Shaun Woodward
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

A former Northern Ireland Secretary has warned that Boris Johnson could fuel a resurgence of violence if he continues to pursue a no-deal Brexit.

Shaun Woodward, who served as Secretary of State under Prime Minister Gordon Brown from 2007 until 2010, said he fears a no-deal Brexit leading to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will give "the bad people" a political cause to resurrect a campaign of terrorism.

Speaking on LBC Radio yesterday, Mr Woodward said the risk of seeing a resurgence of violence is "enormous" should the Prime Minister continue on his course towards a no-deal scenario.

"I'd rather right now we had Jeremy Corbyn leading this country than Boris Johnson," he said.

"Jeremy Corbyn respects democracy. You may not agree with a number of his policies but the fact of the matter is, he respects democracy.

"He actually does think that the vote matters in this country and right now I support a government of national unity, whether led by Jeremy Corbyn or someone else.

"We need to respect just how dangerous a place we are in, and I take it back to Northern Ireland.

"I fear that we're going to give the bad people who have been restraining themselves from violence all they've been looking for since the Good Friday Agreement - a so-called political cause.

"If Boris Johnson gives them a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the risk to seeing a resurgence of violence in Northern Ireland is enormous and it is irresponsible not to think this through."

Mr Woodward, who was a Conservative MP before switching to the Labour Party in 1999, also said Mr Johnson was running scared of calling a general election.

He said: "If Mr Johnson and Dominic Cummings are so certain of their position, why not have the general election and presume you will have your majority to pursue this reckless policy?

"The reason they are frightened of it is it probably isn't going to give them a majority."

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