Alliance Leader Naomi Long MEP has said she is focused on providing a strong voice for the inclusive, progressive, Remain-supporting people of Northern Ireland in the EU, as she officially became an MEP.
Mrs Long was speaking after she took part in the first plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. She said it was a chance for the majority of people in Northern Ireland to have their voices heard clearly, not only in the Parliament but directly with other permanent national delegations to the EU.
“It is a huge honour and privilege to be here as an Alliance MEP, but it is also a huge responsibility, given the current impasse both at Stormont and in Westminster,” she said.
“I intend to do all in my power to oppose Brexit, to defend the backstop if Brexit proceeds, to protect the Good Friday Agreement, and to promote Northern Ireland’s best interests at every opportunity. I also want to reflect the kind of Northern Ireland represented by those who supported me – positive, progressive and pro-European.
“At a time when populism is on the rise across Europe, we need to send a message that just like Northern Ireland, Europe works better when we recognise our interdependence and cooperate to build a stronger, more stable, more sustainable and prosperous future for everyone.
“My role is not just membership of the European Parliament at what is possibly the most critical juncture in our shared history, it is also a platform from which to make Northern Ireland’s case against Brexit, especially a no deal Brexit, both at home and abroad.
“That will be my priority in the EU for the next four months and hopefully beyond.”