Derry Brexit group visit hopes

The European Union flag in front of Big Ben. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire)
The European Union flag in front of Big Ben. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire)

SDLP Foyle MP Mark H Durkan has said he hopes the new parliamentary Brexit Committee he has become a member of will visit Derry.

The new Westminster Brexit select committee has come into being following the decision by the High Court that the government must go to Parliament before any move to trigger Article 50 and signal Britain’s departure from the EU.

Its members will scrutinise government policy on the UK’s exit from the EU.

Mr Durkan said the new committee is widely recognised as being among the most significant to be developed at Westminster in years.

Mr Durkan will attend the first meeting of the committee in London this week to hear oral evidence.

Speaking ahead of this week’s meeting, Mr Durkan said: “I hope that the committee will come to Derry early next year as part of the wider engagement and evidence gathering that its chairman Hilary Benn is committed to.

“It has the broadest geographical and cross-party membership of all the select committees, which reflects the range and scale of the implications to be considered.”

Mr Durkan said that for his own part, he will “consistently reflect that an overwhelming majority in Foyle voted to remain, as did a clear overall majority of people in the North”.

He added: “On behalf of the SDLP, I will reflect the injury to the Good Friday Agreement, the risks to its working balances and the very particular need to protect its key political precepts in future arrangements between the UK and the EU.

“I am clear that it is not sufficient for Whitehall and Westminster just to recite superficial mantra about no intention for a hard border and a commitment to consult the Executive.

“ These supposed assurances fall short even in terms of the factors they claim to address, never mind the wider and deeper dimensions for here that they have yet to acknowledge.

“The variable implications for our economic performance and policies will be another key focus alongside regards for social policy constructs, rights frameworks and environmental responsibility.”

Mr Durkan said such issues transcended purely regional perspectives, but will also need to include very particular regional considerations. He said this was particularly important “given geography, circumstance, political context and all the realities, requirements and risks that attach to these.”