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Sunak ‘determined’ to restore powersharing as he and Mark Drakeford attend British-Irish summit

10 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Mark Drakeford picture by the Welsh Government. Rishi Sunak picture by Stefan Rousseau / PA.

Rishi Sunak will say he is “determined” to restore powersharing in Northern Ireland as soon as possible, when he attends a British-Irish Council summit alongside the First Minister of Wales on Thursday.

The Prime Minister will be joined at the gathering by Mark Drakeford as well as the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, and Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin in his first meeting with all three as Prime Minister.

Mark Drakeford will be joining over video link after testing positive for Covid.

The summit comes after Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris announced plans to extend a deadline for calling a Stormont election and cut the pay of Assembly members, amid continuing political deadlock in the region.

The absence of a powersharing executive means that Northern Ireland will not be represented by any politicians at the talks, with the head of the civil service there, Jayne Brady, attending instead.

It is rare for a British prime minister to travel to British-Irish Council summits, with Mr Sunak the first PM since Gordon Brown in 2007 to attend.

Opening the summit, the prime minister is expected to stress his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and his hope that devolution can function again soon.

“We all want to see power sharing restored as soon as possible,” he will say.

“I’m determined to deliver that.”

He will also use the occasion to urge closer collaboration, as he meets with Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford as well as a Mr Martin.

“We face huge challenges from global economic headwinds to war in Europe,” the Prime Minister will say.

“So let’s be pragmatic. Let’s work together in our shared interests. Let’s deliver for all our people across these great islands – and build a future defined not by division, but by unity and hope.”

‘Test’

While at the summit, Mr Sunak will also host his first council with the heads of the devolved administrations to discuss next week’s autumn statement, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt expected to join the discussion virtually.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill, who cannot attend proceedings due to the crisis at Stormont, said the summit represented a “test” for Mr Sunak.

“We’re aware that both the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Taoiseach Micheal Martin will be there together,” she said.

“So that’s an opportunity for a very strong statement and what I want to hear from Rishi Sunak tomorrow is actually his plan for how he’s actually going to restore this executive and have local ministers in place, his plan for how he’s going to advance and propel talks with the EU around getting an agreement on making the protocol work.”


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George Atkinson
George Atkinson
26 days ago

Is Drakeford still really that naive when dealing with Wastemonster? It’s pathetic.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

so a bit of a non-event then – paperwashing?

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
26 days ago

Oh gods! Is he “determined”? Well that’s going to screw up then! ALSO, 6 years of scant regard, direct insults and power theft from Mordor and NOW they think we need to “work together” because “We face huge challenges from global economic headwinds …” (IE Tories crashed the economy, but claim it’s a global problem)? Obvs MD will rally to the Yoon cause, but my opinion is nah, stuff them! They got us INTO this mess. They should own it. Wy would anyone else be stupid enough to take any share of the blame, or dig them out of it… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
26 days ago

Why doesn’t Sunak give Ulster a vote on unification at this meeting, and ask the Taoiseach to do it in the ROI, and save all parties there more of the misery of the last few years, we all know it is coming, so why delay the inevitable.

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
26 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

A vote to retain the union then.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
26 days ago
Reply to  Arthur Owen

The Tories hate votes so there is no chance of them giving anybody a vote that is likely to change anything.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
26 days ago

Maybe PM Sunak will be more realistic than the Empirists. He has to be, what with the 50 billion hole he has “discovered”. We are at a point in time where a solid leader could get us a really good deal.

Last edited 26 days ago by I.Humphrys

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