Belfast Telegraph

Theresa May lines up Northern Ireland visit to mark Brexit milestone

By David Hughes

Theresa May is expected to visit Northern Ireland this week as part of a whistle-stop tour of the UK.

Thursday's trip will mark a year before the country's exit from the European Union.

The tour will see the Prime Minister meet workers and families in every nation of the UK as she seeks to persuade them that Brexit can strengthen the bonds between them.

Her tour comes as the administrations in Scotland and Wales remain unwilling to sign up to the UK Government's plans for what to do with powers as they return from Brussels, straining the links between Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Westminster.

And the issue of the post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is yet to be resolved in talks between the UK and EU.

A Downing Street source said now was the time to "bring our country back together" and "celebrate our union".

Mrs May's travels around the country will be followed in the coming weeks by other Cabinet ministers including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who will visit fishing communities angry at the compromises made by the Government to secure an implementation period.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will visit financial centres in Leeds, Edinburgh, Bristol and London. The ministerial tours come after the EU agreed to the implementation period sought by the UK and cleared the way for talks on a future trade deal.

A Downing Street source said: "Having reached an agreement on the implementation period, businesses have the certainty they need to plan.

"Crucially during that period we will be able to strike and sign new trade deals across the world but, just as it is important that we are an outward-facing nation, it is equally important that we spend the months leading up to Brexit strengthening our own union of nations.

"In 12 months we will be leaving the EU and as that becomes real for people it is right that they will be asking what Brexit means from them.

"That is why Cabinet ministers will go out across the country, meeting people from all walks of life, listening to their views and explaining how we can secure a new deep and special partnership with the European Union that will strengthen our union, bring together communities, grow our economies and keep our people safe.

"This is the time to bring our country back together, to celebrate our union and to be confident that we are building a better future for Britain."

Belfast Telegraph

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