Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland leaves EU with UK and we will impose budget if no Executive formed: Brokenshire

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has said Northern Ireland will leave the European Union with the UK ruling out it remaining in the single market and he will impose a budget should no Executive be formed in the coming weeks.

"Not because we want to, but because we have to," the Conservative minister told his party conference in Manchester.

He also described Boeing's dispute with Bombardier as "unwarranted and unjustified".

Addressing delegates a the conference in Manchester the secretary of state reaffirmed that Northern Ireland would leave the European Union on the same terms as the rest of the UK. This comes after reports suggested European officials are to suggest Northern Ireland gains special status by remaining as part of the single market.

He said: "We joined the Common Market in 1973 as one United Kingdom and we will leave the European Union in 2019 as one United Kingdom.

"That includes leaving the single market and the customs union so that we can strike new trade deals with the rest of the world.

"At the same time, we recognise the need to address the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, as part of the UK, and Ireland as a member of the EU.

"That the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement is upheld, that the Common Travel Area across these islands is maintained, that the rights of citizens and relations North-South are preserved, that the border for people, goods and services between Northern Ireland and Ireland remains as seamless and frictionless as possible with no physical infrastructure at the border.

"And of course that there is no border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or anything that fractures the internal market of the United Kingdom which benefits Northern Ireland hugely."

Mr Brokenshire emphasised that the Conservative government was committed to making devolution work so that Northern Ireland in its centenary year in 2021 would be a prosperous and peaceful place for all.

He pledged to stand by Bombardier workers and their families and said corporation tax could still be devolved, but that an Executive was needed.

"Sadly, despite our extensive efforts and those of the Irish government consistent with the three stranded approach Northern Ireland hasn't had a properly functioning devolved government since the start of the year," he said.

"As Conservatives we believe in devolution believe in decisions being made as close to the community as possible believe in locally elected politicians getting on with the job and being held accountable by a locally elected Assembly.

"But if the parties remain unable to find a way through we risk heading down a different path.

"Where the UK government will need to provide the necessary political stability and governance starting with the setting of a budget for Northern Ireland later this month.

"Not because we want to but because we have to.

"This isn't what I want to see. It isn't what serves Northern Ireland's interests.

"So my message to the parties is now is the time to reach agreement. Now is the time to look beyond the issues that divide you. Show the resolve you have demonstrated in the past.

"And let's get on with delivering the brighter, prosperous Northern Ireland we know can be achieved."

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