Saturday, 18 August, 2018


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May visits Belleek Pottery in St Belleek Fermanagh Northern Ireland Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May visits Belleek Pottery in St Belleek Fermanagh Northern Ireland Thomson Reuters
Melinda Barton | 22 July, 2018, 06:57

British Prime Minister Theresa May is on her first visit to the province since the referendum vote.She's been criticised for not meeting with locals living and working near what will become the UK's only land border with the European Union after Brexit.The border is a crucial hurdle in the government's negotiations with Brussels.

Mrs Foster said her party wants "a sensible exit from the EU" that works for the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the amendment did not make that backstop illegal in the United Kingdom, but that it and other amendments were unhelpful because they distracted from urgent British-EU negotiations and cast doubt on whether May could secure backing for a final deal from parliament.

Since everyone has agreed the "backstop" that they will not impose border checks, even if there is no deal, what are.

She will add: "Not simply to fall back on to previous positions which have already been proven unworkable".

May's political future has been uncertain since her "white paper" policy document on post-Brexit relations with the European Union triggered resignations from the Cabinet and anger within her Conservative Party.

Perhaps that is why Theresa May choose the County Fermanagh factory for her first visit to the Irish border since becoming prime minister.

Representing 49 out of the crisis-hit Assembly's 90 seats, in a region where 56% voted Remain in the European Union referendum, the four parties claim the UK Government is paying heed to the majority view, and instead indulging its Brexiteer confidence-and-supply partners at Westminster, the Democratic Unionists.

The Irish border issue is one of the most disputed parts of the Brexit negotiations.

Mr Barnier told reporters yesterday that it was "a matter of urgency to agree a legally operative backstop", saying: "We need an all-weather insurance policy".

In a visit to a border area on Thursday with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister will meet with businesses to listen to their views on what working, living and trading across the border means to them.

She will say the deal will put the United Kingdom on the way to "a prosperous future, protecting jobs and boosting prosperity" at the same time as honouring the 2016 referendum result, adding: "I am passionate about that brighter future and the possibilities that are within our grasp".

On Friday, Mrs May will deliver a speech in Belfast focusing on how her vision of Brexit, outlined in last week's Government white paper, will impact Northern Ireland and the border.

She also says it is clear that the British House of Commons would reject it. "Clear UK commitments were made on this in Dec+March".

"All we are seeing is the use of legislative process in Westminster to make political points from different factions within the Conservative Party and within the British political system and I think it would be very foolish to overreact to that".