THURSDAY Parliamentary debate on Brexit only served to waste time, says MLA’S Stephen Farry

Reuters Anti-Brexit protesters hold signs outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January
Stewart Dickson MLA
Stephen Farry in Larne with his Alliance Party colleague Stewart Dickson MLA
Stewart Dickson MLAStephen Farry in Larne with his Alliance Party colleague Stewart Dickson MLA

Senior figures from Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Alliance and the Greens said Brussels must remain firm in demanding a permanent “backstop” arrangement that would keep Northern Ireland aligned with the EU – AIWA! NEWS INTERNATIONAL

From left, Green Party leader Steven Agnew, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O'Neill and Alliance Party MLA Stephen Farry, after a press conference on Brexit at the Foreign Press Association in central London PICTURE: Nick Ansell/PA
From left, Green Party leader Steven Agnew, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O’Neill and Alliance Party MLA Stephen Farry, after a press conference on Brexit at the Foreign Press Association in central London PICTURE: Nick Ansell/PA

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said today’s Parliamentary debate on the issue “resolved little and only served to waste time”.

The Government’s motion reiterating its approach to Brexit was defeated in the House of Commons, alongside several amendments brought by Labour and the SNP. 

“Today’s debate resolved little and only served to waste more time – precious time the UK, and in particular Northern Ireland, doesn’t have,” said Dr Farry. 

“Both the Government and Opposition are continually kicking the can down the road. Delay only serves to indulge delusions and to facilitate the chasing of unicorns. But delay fuels uncertainty and means more and more businesses have to take decisions on their futures which impact on jobs and people’s livelihoods. Every day this goes on real and irreversible damage is occurring. 

“Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempt to renegotiate the backstop are going nowhere. The backstop is rightly regarded as critical to protect the Good Friday Agreement. Her only realistic options are to move to the centre-ground and build a coalition around a softer version of Brexit or to ask for an extension of Article 50 to put her deal to a referendum. 

“It is important the People’s Vote is tested in Parliament. This is the cleanest and most coherent means to address Brexit. Alliance welcomes some amendments have been tabled on this but have regrettably not so far been selected by the Speaker. It would be outrageous for the UK to leave the EU if there is any prospect Brexit is not supported by a majority of the electorate but this possibility was not explored.”

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