Belfast Telegraph

Whistlestop tour sees May down on the farm

By Rebecca Black

It's an area of North Down farmland made famous by pop star Rihanna in 2011 when she danced in a bikini top and jeans around the fields for a provocative music video - before being told, in good old Ulster fashion, to cover up.

Yesterday the cameras returned to the area - albeit to a farm across the road - as Prime Minister Theresa May arrived to hear views on Brexit exactly 12 months before the UK leaves the EU.

In terms of a choice of location, this area of North Down was comparatively safe ground for the Prime Minister.

There was no sight of any properties straddling the border, or people who would rather see that dividing line disappear for good.

Although North Down voted Remain by a tight margin, this area of the constituency is very much middle Ulster, where fertile farmland rolls as far as the eye can see and Bible verses are daubed on to walls.

Host Stephen Jackson was happy to say he had voted Leave himself.

His farm was transformed from its usual tranquillity to the scene of an invasion by scores of journalists, press officers and security staff awaiting the arrival of the Prime Minister.

Fresh off a small plane from Newcastle, Mrs May got a good whiff of country air as she disembarked from her car, and was immediately whisked off for a tour of the farm, which included meeting some newborn calves blinking uncomprehendingly at all the fuss.

On her first visit here since last month amid rumours a deal to resurrect Stormont was imminent, Mrs May didn't appear in a hurry to rush back, placing the onus on local parties to get together and finally reach agreement to ensure Northern Ireland had a voice in the Brexit negotiations.

The Prime Minister was in no rush to commit to returning here anytime soon.

Belfast Telegraph


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