UK Government must involve Northern Ireland more in its Brexit negotiations

The Government’s involving of the Northern Ireland Executive in its Brexit negotiations is welcome but does not go far enough, the Open Britain campaign says today.

On a visit to Edinburgh in July, Theresa May said: “I won’t be triggering Article 50 until I think that we have a UK approach and objectives for negotiations. I think it is important that we establish that before we trigger Article 50.” However, a timetable for Article 50 was announced unilaterally by the UK Government at Conservative Party Conference.  

Ahead of the summit being held at Downing Street today this pledge appears to have been watered down to merely an offer of a “direct line” between the Northern Ireland Executive and the Department for Exiting the European Union, with no concrete guarantees that their concerns will be acted upon before Article 50 is triggered.

The concerns of the Northern Irish administration must be taken seriously in the Brexit process, and Northern Ireland’s particular concerns must be taken into account when shaping the UK Government’s negotiating strategy.

It is vital that the Government publishes its objectives and allows a parliamentary debate and vote on them before Article 50 is triggered, and that they reflect Northern Irish concerns.

Commenting, Conor McGinn MP, supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:

“Given the particular challenges posed by Brexit in Northern Ireland, it would be unacceptable for the devolved administration not to have a key role in helping to shape the UK’s negotiating stance.

“The UK Government should also work closely with the Irish Government to ensure there is no negative impact on British-Irish and North-South relations.

“A more transparent and consensual approach is required if we are to finish these negotiations with a deal that works for every part of the UK.” 


Theresa May’s remarks in Edinburgh in July are reported here: