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Alex Kane

Poll position: Is Gavin Robinson gearing up for a tilt at the leadership?

Alex Kane


East Belfast MP’s comments about a unity referendum sound like a bid to replace Arlene Foster, says Alex Kane

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Gavin Robinson

Gavin Robinson

Gavin Robinson

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback on Monday, Gavin Robinson said he had never mentioned a border poll during a recent newspaper interview, adding, “I do not see it as an inevitability at all.”

But he was supporting comments Peter Robinson had made a couple of years earlier and which he had expanded on in an article last October, when he made the case for a pro-Union working group to “prepare an evidence-based case for the Union in the event of a border poll”.

Both Robinsons are right. While a border poll is not inevitable, it is more likely than not within the next decade. Sinn Fein, which may be in an Irish government fairly soon, will continue to press for one. Micheal Martin has said he doesn’t want one in the next five years, but in a recent speech he upped the ante with the announcement of a series of all-island dialogues. Most of nationalism in Northern Ireland, party-political and civic, has raised the issue to the top of their agendas.


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