The leaked letter from the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP, to the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, saying that it is not job of the UK Government to maintain no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic was reckless.
One of the core components of the peace agreement in Northern Ireland is that there shall be no border on the island of Ireland. Labour launched an Urgent Question to get to the bottom of this matter.
I wanted to know what action the Government will be taking to ensure that there is no border between Holyhead, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. These are three key markets for our local economy and if we have borders erected it will be to the detriment of jobs.
As devolved government has still not been reestablished in Northern Ireland due to both sides failing to reach agreement. As the last minister to have to intervene and take direct rule of Northern Ireland I welcomed the statement this week noting that direct rule will not yet be implemented.
This is important because the people of Northern Ireland need to be governed by their elected officials, who are currently not operating at Stormont.
However, I wanted more information from the new Secretary of State on the budget for Northern Ireland which will need to be passed soon. If it is not then we will be in the situation where the Civil Service in Northern Ireland will run out of money and be unable to operate. Putting people’s government at risk.
The Secretary of State promised to keep the Commons informed of any progress and changes in the situation.
As the last direct rule minister for Northern Ireland, when I was responsible for Northern Ireland’s budget and many other functions, I wanted to stress to the Secretary of State that direct rule is a poor form of governance.
The collapse in the negotiations to reestablish the Northern Ireland Assembly is a terrible outcome for the people of Northern Ireland. The statement presented informed Parliament that we will now be asked to pass a budget for Northern Ireland. I wanted details on this budget and if it was to include the £1 billion deal cobbled together by the Conservatives and DUP to form a minority government.