Conservative MP tells Commons: ‘UK has put Ireland in the most catastrophic situation'
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Conservative MP tells Commons: ‘UK has put Ireland in the most catastrophic situation'

A CONSERVATIVE MP has spoken up in defence of Ireland and the "catastrophic situation" it has been put in as a result of Brexit.

Alistair Burt, who is the Member of Parliament for North Bedfordshire was among the 21 MPs who defied UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson by voting to block a no deal Brexit.

Speaking in the House of Commons on a day when legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31 cleared the House of Commons, Mr. Burt hit out at some of his colleagues who have treated Ireland as “some sort of irrelevance”.

The Tory MP defended the difficult position Ireland had been put in while criticising the way it had been portrayed as "a place where they have made up the border issue to try prevent us leaving the EU".

"With our history in relation to Ireland, everything that happened there, they became our best friends in the European Union,” he said.

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"Our choice to leave, our Brexit, has put them in the most catastrophic situation of any country.

"And we now expect them to accept another English demand that they should do something. Have we no understanding of what that relationship means?"

Stripped of the Tory whip after voting against Prime Minister Johnson’s government on the issue of Brexit, Mr Burt subsequently decided not to stand in the next election.

Writing a letter to party members, Mr Burt said: "It has become clear that I have a fundamental and unresolvable disagreement with our party leadership on the manner in which we leave the EU, and the consequences going forward of doing so.

"This is very likely to be at the root of the next election, and I believe it is unfair of me to present you with a conflict of interest between my views and those of the party at an election, even if current circumstances do not result in my having the whip in Parliament removed."

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Despite this, Mr Burt’s statement did not fall on deaf ears with Tánaiste Simon Coveney tweeting a message of support and thanks.

"I can assure you Ireland will work with UK and EU to find a deal that works for everyone; but it must be on basis of recognising and solving the complex and very real problems that Brexit causes for island of Ireland, as the WA [Withdrawal Agreement] does," Mr Coveney said.