Mrs Long was speaking after a meeting with Tánaiste Simon Coveney at Stormont. She said parties in London were “playing politics” with Brexit, while a defeat for the UK Government in Parliament yesterday showed the majority of MPs didn’t back a no deal Brexit.
“We are now fewer than 80 days until Brexit and it’s clear following last night’s vote in Parliament a majority of MPs do not believe a no deal Brexit is acceptable. So Parliament needs to get its act together because there are two options left on the table – either agree the Withdrawal Agreement with the backstop as the basis for a post-Brexit relationship with the EU, or rescind Article 50, there are no other choices. Everything else is just noise.
“Labour in particular need to stop playing politics with the issue of Brexit and start to look at what is in the best interests of not just the UK but of Northern Ireland in particular, as well as Ireland and the EU as a whole. It is not acceptable for our futures to become pawns in a political game being played out in London. We need to see some serious decision-making from them and others in the forthcoming period – stop chasing unicorns and start dealing with reality.
“It has always been Alliance’s preference there not be a Brexit. But if it is to happen, it has to take place in the most orderly and fashioned fashion. We need to bank the backstop, because it provides the assurance the business community, farmers, civic society and others have demanded. It protects our economy from the worst effects of Brexit and gives the UK Government an opportunity to go forward to negotiate a future relationship with the EU.”