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Deal which restored Stormont protects NI’s place within the Union – Sunak

05 Feb 2024 4 minute read
First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly, during a meeting with members of the newly-formed Stormont Executive at Stormont Castle. Photo Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he believed the deal his Government struck with the DUP to restore devolved government at Stormont has succeeded in protecting Northern Ireland’s place within the Union.

Asked if the deal future-proofed Northern Ireland from divergence between UK and EU trading rules, Mr Sunak said the Stormont brake element of the Windsor Framework could now be used by MLAs.

Mr Sunak visited Northern Ireland to mark the return of the Stormont Assembly. Following meetings with political leaders earlier in the day, he travelled to Glencraig Integrated Primary School in Co Down where he chatted with staff and pupils.

New legislation

The institutions in Northern Ireland were restored after a deal between Mr Sunak’s Government and the DUP to address unionist concerns over post-Brexit trading arrangements, which included passing new legislation at Westminster.

Asked if the deal protected Northern Ireland from future trade divergence, Mr Sunak said: “We have worked very hard and, I believe, succeeded in protecting Northern Ireland’s place in our Union and building on what we achieved with the Windsor Framework to ensure the smooth flow of trade within the United Kingdom.

“And to ensure all the benefits that are there as a result of Brexit can be seized.

“That’s the deal that we struck, that’s what the Windsor Framework delivers, that’s what all our conversations have been and I am confident that not only will people start to see the benefits of that very quickly, but crucially now, with the Executive up and running, the democratic safeguards that we negotiated as part of the Windsor Framework can now actually be used.

“The most important thing is that the people of Northern Ireland are in charge of their own destiny, because of the Stormont brake in particular, an Executive up and running can use those powers.”

Powersharing

The Stormont brake is a mechanism designed to allow elected representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly to raise an objection to a new EU goods rule.

Mr Sunak also said people in Northern Ireland wanted to see the new powersharing Executive focusing on delivering for their needs.

He said: “I am very confident on the basis of all the meetings I have had this morning and yesterday, people are looking forward, they are not looking backwards.

“They see this as a really important moment for the people of Northern Ireland, the Executive back up and running after a long amount of time of working through people’s concerns, making sure we could address those, I believe we have.

“That’s why you have seen the Executive restored.

“Now, actually the focus is not on any of those things, the focus is consistently and unanimously on delivering for the people of Northern Ireland and that means specifically on the day-to-day issues, like the NHS. That is what everyone’s focus is on right now.

“I am confident there is unanimity that is and should be the focus and that has very much been the tone of the meetings today.”

He added: “I think many, if not most people, thought we wouldn’t actually see this moment come so I think it is a cause for optimism.

“That is the spirit I’ve picked up in all my conversations and meetings yesterday and today.

“I think this is an important and significant, if not historic day for the people of Northern Ireland.

“The Executive back up and running and the new deal we’ve arranged means they will have more funding and powers than ever before to deliver for families and businesses across Northern Ireland.”


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Jeff
Jeff
15 days ago

I bet Mr Varadker had to say “for gawds sake Sunak, will you shut up about stopping the boats!”

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
15 days ago

No mention nor acknowledgement of and, furthermore, no apology for the fact that he, his party and especially his predecessor but one caused all of the problems in the first place. Just the usual pure bloody minded arrogance. The Tories’ stock in trade.

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
15 days ago

Although from Hindu Indian stock, Rishi Sunak is a fervent English imperialist who believes that what’s left of England’s violently acquired possessions are sacrosanct, not least England’s enclave in Ireland – Northern Ireland. He has rewarded the intransigence of the DUP that boycotted Stormont for 2 years by awarding Northern Ireland £3.3bn as part of his deal to reopen its Parliament. This generosity is in stark contrast to his mean cheating of a similar sum due to Wales, i.e., the Barnett Consequential for the HS2 rail project – also awarded to Northern Ireland.     

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
15 days ago
Reply to  Gwyn Hopkins

Are you sure, he is a proud man with several allegiances I suspect, none below the top 20% and that is being generous…

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
15 days ago
Reply to  Gwyn Hopkins

Welsh Labour did nothing to stop the Tories.

The Welsh government should take control of our Taxation, economy and governing.

UK imperialism needs to be brought to an end.
Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England must be freed from this centralised regime.

Riki
Riki
15 days ago

Northern Ireland is to England what Isreal is to America. Meaning it exists solely so they can control, or try to control swathes of land that isn’t theirs. It’s nothing to do with identity, or protecting certain cultures. take Isreal for example, surely America would have been the safest place for Jewish people after WW2! These areas were choosing for one and one reason only…to destabilise and fracture Irish and Arab communities. Divide and conquer as it were.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
15 days ago

A question for the PM, Rishi, does your helicopter use Russian oil refined in India Jet fuel?

Could the RAF be using it on operations in the Middle East by any chance?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
15 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I see I am not alone in thinking that Rishi Sunak is not a fit person to hold any office in the government of the UK let alone the leadership role, he is beyond contempt ! Piers Morgan is infamous in his iniquity, that Rishi can swim at the same depth tells us all we need to know. Shocking but any friend of Fat Shanks must share his moral bankruptcy. I think it is time he went don’t you think so too King Charles?

Liz, a vote of no confidence ?

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