Belfast Telegraph

SDLP calls for general election to 'root out extremists' after Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister

However, the DUP welcomed the "fresh optimism and positivity" from the new PM.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called for a general election.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called for a general election.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called for a Westminster general election to "root extremists out" of the British Government after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

Mr Eastwood said the British Government "has gone nativist" and is now "occupied by extremists" who will pull apart the Belfast Agreement in pursuit of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Eastwood's comments come after the new prime minister dramatically reshaped the cabinet on Wednesday evening, with former chief whip Julian Smith becoming the new Northern Ireland Secretary of State.

“Democratic Ireland cannot stand by as our interests are debased, degraded and ignored at Westminster," the Foyle MLA said.

"A Prime Minister with no public mandate cannot be allowed to inflict immense damage on this island unchallenged."

Mr Eastwood said that while he respected Sinn Fein decision not to take their seats at Westminster, it was time to "take power back" into the hands of the "anti-Brexit majority" in Northern Ireland and send MPs to Westminster to oppose Boris Johnson and his administration.

"That also means neutralising the DUP block that has emboldened and empowered this reckless political direction," he said.

“The SDLP is ready to fight a Westminster election. We’re ready to disrupt the comfortable consensus between Johnson and the DUP. We’re ready to turn up and vote against a hard Brexit.“

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Boris Johnson at the despatch box (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

In start contrast, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said his party welcomed the "fresh optimism and positivity" that is coming from the new Prime Minister.

"Already we have been able to have constructive conversations with the new Prime Minister and look forward to continuing these to ensure that the shared vision we have as unionist parties means we have a Conservative and Unionist Government in place rather than the alternative of a Corbyn government," the North Belfast MP said.

"Both Boris Johnson and the DUP share the vision that the Union must be strengthened, that Brexit must be delivered and that Stormont must be restored as quickly as possible knowing the DUP would set it up tomorrow but that Sinn Fein continue its policy of delay and boycott.”

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