Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein says Theresa May offers only ‘platitudes and promises’

A DUP MP said the backstop remained the problem ahead of Brexit.

Sinn Fein has accused Theresa May of serving up only “platitudes and promises” on Brexit.

Party vice president Michelle O’Neill said the Prime Minister failed to outline any alternative to the border backstop when she addressed business leaders in Belfast.

Sinn Fein, the DUP and the other main Stormont parties will meet with Mrs May on Wednesday morning.

Ahead of the encounter, Mrs O’Neill accused the Prime Minister of committing an “enormous act of bad faith” on the backstop, having previously come to Belfast to urge people to back the proposal.

“I heard no evidence, I heard no commitment, I heard no suggestion, no proposal, anything that would deliver no hard border on this island,” she said.

“We know the only way to do that is the issue of the backstop, the backstop which Theresa May and her government negotiated with the EU.

“That is the only way in which we could avoid a hard border, that commitment needs to be lived up to.

“Dublin needs to hold firm, the EU needs to remain firm.

“I welcome the fact they have offered very strong words in that regard.

“But I heard nothing new from what Theresa May said today.

“I heard no words of comfort, no assurances, I heard nothing that would leave the community here to be in any way in a better position than from before her visit.”

The backstop is the problem and Parliament has spoken with a definitive voice to reject it Emma Little Pengelly, MP

DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to go back to Brussels to seek changes to the withdrawal deal.

“It is good that the Prime Minister is visiting Northern Ireland but also that she is returning to Brussels to seek change which can address our objections to the draft withdrawal agreement,” she said.

“The backstop is the problem and Parliament has spoken with a definitive voice to reject it.

“We want to reach a deal which can provide certainty for business but that also is in the long-term interests of Northern Ireland.

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Countryside near Castlederg, Co Tyrone, part of a former smuggling route covering both sides of the Irish border (Michael McHugh/PA)

“It must be one which respects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

“Northern Ireland cannot be left as a rule taker, running to Dublin to seek changes to the rules governing our core industries.

“Whilst there have been positive voices from Brussels about the need to seek creative solutions, such commentary will now be tested.

“There needs to be a political will to reach a consensus which works for the United Kingdom and also the European Union.

“The Prime Minister must stand strong and press for the necessary legally binding changes.”

Press Association

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