Sunday 19 November 2017

UK election result makes our role in Brexit more important

DUP involvement puts the nationalist community in a tough position and raises the stakes for this island, writes Stephen Donnelly

Arlene Foster pictured with newly-elected DUP MPs. 'One of the DUP demands appears to be that no special status would be entertained for Northern Ireland during Brexit talks.'
Arlene Foster pictured with newly-elected DUP MPs. 'One of the DUP demands appears to be that no special status would be entertained for Northern Ireland during Brexit talks.'

Stephen Donnelly

The UK election changes the likely impact of Brexit on Ireland. It makes a softer Brexit more likely, which is welcomed. But it also makes a 'no deal' outcome more likely, which would be a disaster. And it makes special status for Northern Ireland harder to achieve, which is bad news on both sides of the border.

It was meant to be the Brexit election. Prime ­Minister Theresa May had a slim majority and didn't need to hold another election until 2020, a year after Brexit negotiations were to be concluded. Why call one? Her belief was the Brexit talks would be destabilised by other parties, which wanted a soft Brexit, or none at all. She wanted a stronger hand.

Presumably she also wanted support for a hard Brexit. The question on the Brexit referendum voting cards was: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

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