Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's remain parties slam PM over meeting 'snub'

By Staff Reporter

Theresa May is refusing to have a joint meeting with the leaders of the local anti-Brexit parties.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill said Mrs May had turned down a request for talks with her party, the SDLP, Alliance and the Greens.

Mrs O'Neill said: "In order to preserve her toxic alliance with the DUP, she is trampling over the rights of citizens by acquiescing to that party's refusal to share power (at Stormont) on the basis of equality.

"And by refusing to meet their representatives, Theresa May is also ignoring the democratic will of the majority in the North who voted to reject Brexit."

She said the British Government was incapable of acting responsibly or with impartiality while it remained wedded to the DUP.

"Theresa May is showing nothing but disdain for the people of the North, for the Good Friday Agreement, for our economy and rights and for the peace process.

"It is an appalling failure of her responsibilities as a co-equal guarantor of our peace and political process and there is an onus on the Irish Government and EU27 to defend our best interests during this critical stage of the Brexit negotiations."

Alliance's Brexit spokesman Stephen Farry said it was "disappointing" that the Prime Minister had refused to meet the Remain parties collectively.

"She claims to be acting on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland but is only listening to the DUP, who are presenting a distorted position, contrary to the Remain majority, who support the backstop," he said.

"It is vital the people of the UK have a chance as a whole to reconsider the decision to leave the EU."

Green leader Steven Agnew said Mrs May's refusal to hold a meeting "shows contempt for the majority who voted to stay in the EU".

He said: "The Prime Minister is making a mistake by listening only to the extreme minority view of the DUP.

"It's clear that the DUP are comfortable with the prospect of crashing out of the EU without a deal.

"The refusal of the Tory leader to listen to and engage constructively with the parties representing the majority of people here sets a difficult tone as the issue of the Irish border continues to hold up progress on a Brexit deal."

Belfast Telegraph

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