SINN FÉIN MLA Máirtin Ó Muilleoir has said ‘there is no such thing as a good Brexit’ after the DUP pledged its support to the government on a series of votes on its EU Withdrawal Bill.
The unionist party – which has a confidence and supply deal with the Tories – has backed Prime Minister Theresa May in votes on amendments to the bill that have been put forward by the House of Lords.
May faced an embarrassing defeat led by rebels in her own party who supported today’s ‘meaningful vote’ amendment, which would have allowed MPs to take a greater control of Brexit negotiations if no deal could be agreed.
While the vote eventually went 324 to 298 in the goverment’s favour, it came at a price, with the Prime Minister believed to have offered rebels concessions following a series of meetings.
While she may have had to appease those within her own party, she continues to have the support of the DUP, with all 10 of the party’s MPs backing the government in the vote.
However former Belfast Lord Mayor Ó Muilleoir has said Brexit will hurt communities in Northern Ireland, where the majority of people voted Remain.
“There is no such thing as a good Brexit for the majority of people here who voted to remain,” he said.
“Communities, businesses and farmers are looking on with increasing alarm at the chaos which is engulfing the Tory-DUP Brexit agenda.
“Those people want to remain in the Customs Union and the Single Market because they know that is key to avoiding a hard border and protecting their economic interests.
“They want their rights as European citizens upheld and our peace agreements protected.
“So the DUP don’t speak for those people when they pursued a Tory-led hard Brexit. They do not speak for the majority.”
The MLA for Belfast South also criticised the ramifications of the confidence and supply deal.
He said: “The DUP are pursuing a reckless agenda which has its roots in their pact to prop up Theresa May’s government when they committed to supporting any and all Brexit legislation even before they had seen it.
“That isn’t leadership. That isn’t responsible politics. That is mortgaging the best interests of future generations because they can’t resist engaging in jingoistic flag-waving.”
Voting on the amendments to the Withdrawal Bill continues tomorrow.