Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein reject Boris Johnson's claim there's 'no reason to hold border poll'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Jon Nguyen/The Daily Telegraph/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Jon Nguyen/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

Sinn Fein has rejected comments from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he sees "no reason to hold a border poll".

Speaking to the BBC Mr Johnson said that he believed the threshold for calling a vote on Irish unity had not been met.

The Prime Minister also said that he hoped Stormont could return to give MLAs a say on changes to the Irish border backstop.

Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy said that Mr Johnson and his government "could not ignore the growing demand for Irish unity".

The Mid Ulster MP said that Mr Johnson was currently "under pressure" and this his comments "don't hold water".

“A majority of people - from all backgrounds in the north - rejected the disastrous Brexit policy of the British Tory party, recognising the disaster it would be for the north of Ireland," Mr Molloy said.

“The nationalist and republican people of the north have also rejected Westminster, realising it will never act in their interests.

“The Good Friday Agreement, of which is British Prime Minister is a coguarantor, sets out provision for a referendum on Irish unity."

The Sinn Fein MP said that Mr Johnson could try to ignore Parliament but he could not ignore the Good Friday Agreement.

The agreement says that a border poll can be called if the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, currently Julian Smith, believes there is a demand for it.

Francie Molloy
Francie Molloy

“In the event of a crash out Brexit we will be demanding that the British government announce a referendum on Irish unity," Mr Molloy said.

“The people of Ireland from all backgrounds are already discussing Irish unity. It’s time both the British and Irish governments caught up and began planning for a unity referendum.”

Earlier this month a Lord Ashcroft survey found that 51% of voters in Northern Ireland would back Irish unity.

The poll shows that 45% of those survey said they would stay in the UK, while 46% said they would vote to leave and join the Republic of Ireland.

The figures break down to 51% to 49% for unification when those who don't know and others who say they would not vote are excluded.

The results of the Lord Ashcroft poll
The results of the Lord Ashcroft poll

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