Alliance Party Deputy Leader and Brexit spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has responded to reports that the UK Prime Minister would set out a ‘hard Brexit’ for the UK in a major speech on Tuesday, and has reiterated the need for Northern Ireland to urgently have a competent Executive to articulate Northern Ireland’s particular circumstances and to argue for Special Status.
Stephen Farry said: “Informed speculation is now indicating that the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, will indicate a ‘hard Brexit’ under the banner of the misnomer of a ‘global Britain’ in a major speech on Tuesday.
“The notion of a ‘global Britain’ is a contradiction in terms, especially in the context of separating the existing integrated economy offered by the European Union and our nearest and largest trading partner, plus erecting barriers to the movement of people. Often there is a false argument made that there is a choice between the UK optimising its trading within the European Union and opening up new trade agreements with other parts of the world. As the recent Canadian-EU trade agreement shows, both are mutually compatible.
“Beyond the general damage to the UK economy, a hard Brexit would have serious and particular political and economic consequences for Northern Ireland. Not only are these risks being played down and indeed ignored by the UK Government, but the greatest dangers to the viability of this region are coming at a time of massive political instability and dysfunctionality in government hampering any effective response.
“To date, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has simply recited the stock platitudes that have so far passed for the UK Government position on Brexit, and he has not demonstrated or articulated a clear understanding of the specific challenges facing this region.
“A ‘one size fits all’ Brexit is just not practical. It is therefore vital that Northern Ireland gains a competent, coherent and cohesive government as soon as possible to argue for special arrangements to be put in place to address our particular circumstances.”