UK PM May will face leadership challenge if she softens Brexit

19 June, 2017, 15:35 | Author: Valerie Burke
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"But, in addition, the government in southern Ireland will look to reconfigure its relations with the DUP, creating difficulties for Sinn Fein", he said. That point has been further stressed by both sides in the wake of June's terror attack in London. The Common Travel Area is an open borders area comprising the Republic of Ireland and Britain.

He said the DUP will not countenance a "soft" Brexit.

This afternoon's talks will be dominated by the interlinked issues of Brexit and Northern Ireland.

Conservative Party sources say May wants to show her government is up and running but her loss of authority in last week's election will make it harder to handle a hectic agenda - Brexit talks with the European Union, tackling a slowing economy, a political crisis in Ireland, and a devastating fire in London.

Almost a fifth of the UK's food and drink exports go to the Republic of Ireland and in March industry bodies from across the British food and drink sector wrote an open letter to various government departments calling for "frictionless" tariff-free trade with Ireland to continue post-Brexit.

"We have just finished a meeting with the British Prime Minister and her Secretary of State, and we told her very directly that she was in breach of the Good Friday agreement", said Mr Adams after the meeting.

The British government will realise the importance of talks to get a Stormont administration running again and will remain completely objective in talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

May faces the task of satisfying both the pro-European and eurosceptic factions of her party, keeping Northern Ireland calm and negotiating a divorce with 27 other European Union members whose combined economic might is more than five times that of Britain.

"The people of Northern Ireland need devolved government working in the best interests of the whole community", he said.

These reasons include a corruption scandal involving Ms Foster and "the DUP's ongoing refusal to implement key aspects of the Good Friday and subsequent binding agreements, such as introducing fair and impartial mechanisms to deal with the legacy of the conflict, a Bill of Rights and an Irish Language Act", a measure to enhance the use of Irish Gaelic in public life.

O'Neill said in a statement that both London and Dublin must "recommit to the word, spirit and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement" if power sharing at Stormont is to be re-established, she said. "It also needs to ensure that any arrangement with the DUP is public".

And some fear the viability of Northern Ireland's fragile peace - which has held since 1998 after decades of inter-community violence known as The Troubles - could rest on the arrangement, with doubts around the United Kingdom government's neutrality.

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