Belfast Telegraph

'They know the history of the famine': Sinn Fein hits out at Tories over food shortages threat

Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard
Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard
Priti Patel (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sinn Fein has slammed the Conservatives after a former Tory cabinet minister urged the British government to threaten food shortages in a 'no deal' Brexit as leverage to force the Irish government to drops it commitment to a backstop.

Conservative MP Priti Patel, a former international development secretary, suggested the move in order to secure a better Brexit deal from the EU.

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard said: “This proposal from Priti Patel really exposes the Brexiteer attitude to Ireland as nothing more than a colonial irritant whose rights really shouldn’t be taken into account.

“They know the history of the Irish famine and Britain’s role in it and the very fact that they would seek to inject that into the Brexit debate is crass and offensive.

“The Tories couldn’t care less about the impact of their reckless Brexit agenda on the people and economy of Ireland. We are simply collateral damage.

“And this is precisely why we need a backstop; it is our only insurance policy against a hard border in Ireland and comments such as Priti Patel’s will only serve to reinforce the determination of those of us who are saying that the backstop is the bottom line.

"It cannot and will not be abandoned or renegotiated.”

Ms Patel later tweeted her comments had been "taken out of context".

The current Backstop, agreed by Theresa May's government with the European Union, would see Northern Ireland continue to be governed by EU rules regarding trade in order to prevent a hard border in the island of Ireland.

The DUP, which is propping up the Conservative government, are vehemently opposed to the backstop, saying it would carve Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom.

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