Irish republicans have been urged to sit in the British parliament, but that’s not what I was elected for. It should have no part in governing the people of Ireland
For 100 years now, Irish republicans have refused to validate British sovereignty over the island of Ireland by sitting in the parliament of Westminster. As an abstentionist Sinn Féin MP, I can provide an Irish republican perspective on this issue.
To the British public, it may seem strange to stand for election to an institution and then refuse to participate in that institution. For British citizens with a progressive world view, and those with an anti-Brexit disposition, it might appear logical to take these seats, and for British MPs that is entirely logical – because the Westminster parliament is the democratic institution that makes decisions on behalf of the British people.
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs and reaction as the EU publishes its draft text of the Brexit withdrawal treaty
At the afternoon lobby briefing Theresa May’s spokesman refused several invitations to give any thoughts on John Major’s speech. May herself had not watched it, he said, as she was hosting a modern slavery taskforce event at No 10.
Asked if the timing of the speech – two days before May’s own set piece Brexit speech – was helpful, the spokesman said: “He is perfectly entitled to make his views known at his time of choosing.”
As my colleague Alan Travis reports, the government has sneaked out (“sneaked out”, because it coincides with a particularly busy Brexit news day) an announcement showing that the government has backed down on the issue of the rights of EU nationals coming to the UK during the transition.
As Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said in his press conference yesterday, and again today (see 11.43am), this was one of the areas of dispute between the UK and the EU holding up an agreement on the transition.
Related: Theresa May concedes on EU migrants’ residency rights during Brexit transition
Foreign secretary says those who do not want to leave EU are exploiting border conundrum
Boris Johnson has blamed the growing political row over the Irish border on those who wish to frustrate Britain’s departure from the EU.
In remarks that highlighted the division between the British government and EU negotiators, who will publish a document on Wednesday expected to spell out that their default solution to the Irish border issue is for Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union, Johnson insisted that other solutions to the problem could be found.
The party’s actions have a material, crushing effect on Northern Ireland, most particularly on its young
“In our view, there is no current prospect of these discussions leading to an executive being formed.” With those words, Arlene Foster turned towards Her Majesty’s government, “to set a budget and start making policy decisions about our schools, hospitals and infrastructure”.
The DUP is a party that loves power but hates responsibility. No, Sinn Féin is responsible for the collapse of the Northern Ireland executive. The British government should be responsible for the running of Northern Ireland. The EU will be responsible for a hard Irish border. Power, for the DUP, is not to be held nor shared but to be wielded. And wielded in defence of the few rather than for the good of the many.