Thursday 19 April 2018

'Force SF to take-up MP seats'

The Palace of Westminster. Stock picture
The Palace of Westminster. Stock picture
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Sinn Fein has been urged to force their MPs to take their seats in Westminster to support a vote which would ensure the UK remained in the EU custom unions.

Pro-EU Conservative Party and Labour Party MPs in the UK are expected to vote on a forthcoming trade bill which could keep Britain inside the custom unions.

The move would ensure free trade between Ireland and Britain and significantly reduce the potential impact of Brexit. Sinn Fein's abstention policy means the party's MPs will not take their seats in the UK parliament to ensure the vote passes.

However, Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond has urged Sinn Fein to reconsider their stance for this one-off vote. "The Sinn Fein policy of abstention doesn't have to be sacrosanct, some things are more important and Brexit is the biggest threat facing this island for many years," Mr Richmond said.

"Here is an opportunity for Sinn Fein to do something tangible for their constituents, not just in Northern Ireland but in the Republic as well.

"I think people would be very grateful and their supporters wouldn't mind this one exemption. Sinn Fein has changed their policy on abstention many times before. At one point they didn't take their seats in Dail Eireann so why not now?

"The numbers are so tight this is a one-off chance for Sinn Fein to make a huge difference both North and South," he added.

Sunday Independent

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