Long disappointed after SDLP vote on Brexit amendment

Alliance Belfast City Councillor Michael Long has said he is disappointed after the SDLP voted against an amendment stating Brexit is not an orange or green issue.

Councillor Long was speaking after Sinn Féin brought a motion to Belfast City Council calling for clarity from the British and Irish Governments over what would trigger an Irish unity referendum in the wake of Brexit. The Alliance Group Leader attempted to bring an amendment stating Brexit is not an orange or green issue and it is unhelpful to view it as such.

However, Sinn Féin, the SDLP and People Before Profit voted against hearing the amendment, causing it to be defeated.

“Alliance has been clear from the start – Brexit is not an orange or green issue. It will affect everyone in our society equally, whether unionist, nationalist or other,” said Councillor Long.

“That’s why Alliance attempted to bring this amendment. We recognise there is a fluid debate on the future of Northern Ireland and the desire for Irish unity is a perfectly legitimate position but we are clear whatever the constitutional position, the priorities must be to promote reconciliation, make this region work and fight against the devastation Brexit will bring.

“Given the SDLP’s talk of how important it is to promote Remain during this election, it was particularly disappointing they voted against this amendment, meaning when push came to shove, they prioritised Irish unity over a combined, non-political approach to tackling Brexit.”