Sunday 22 September 2019

Government must ramp up no-deal preparations amid latest Westminster chaos - FF

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Neil Hall/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Neil Hall/PA)

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

THE Government must ramp up preparations for a no-deal Brexit in the wake of the latest political chaos in Westminster, Fianna Fáil has said.

The party's Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers has expressed alarm at the latest developments - where British Prime Minster Boris Johnson has scheduled a Queen's speech for October 14, while denying he's trying to prevent Parliament from blocking his Brexit plans.

She told Independent.ie: "It is really concerning to see British politics further disintegrate as we approach the Brexit deadline of October 31."

Ms Chambers said: "If Prime Minister Johnson seeks to suspend parliament for over a month, to resume just three days before the next EU council meeting, this will only serve to further deepen the divide in British politics and move us further away from getting a Brexit deal done.

She added: "The UK, like Ireland, is a parliamentary democracy. For this to function and serve its citizens properly, MPs should have adequate time in parliament to debate Brexit in its final stages.

"The idea this would not happen I imagine is deeply upsetting for MPs and many citizens in the U.K. Clearly our own domestic preparations must be ramped up by government as a no deal Brexit now seems very likely," she added.

Meanwhile, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has called for the Dáil to be recalled early by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar due to what he said is an "evolving Brexit crisis".

He said: "As it stands the Dáil is due to return on September 17, by which time the House of Commons will already have been prorogued with an increasing likelihood of a 'No deal Brexit' . 

"We cannot control the increasingly fraught developments in Westminster but we should have the Dáil in session to make sure that our response is debated in full."

Mr Ryan said his party will be advancing its own proposals on what needs to be done in consultation with Green colleagues in the UK and Europe.

He also said: "I believe the Irish Government's position has been strengthened by the solidarity that has been shown across the Oireachtas. 

"Returning earlier in September would be an important recognition of the scale of the crisis we all face."

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that Mr Johnson's move "demonstrates his clear intent to force through a no-deal Brexit, regardless of the consequences for Ireland; north or south."

She argued that: "It shows the arrogance of the British government and their contempt even for their own political institutions and it is very clear that Irish interests will never be protected at Westminster."

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