Memo to May: ‘DUP does not speak for Northern Ireland’ - Eastwood

SDLP Leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood has dispatched a memo to Theresa May.
SDLP Leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood has dispatched a memo to Theresa May.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has dispatched a memo directly to 10 Downing Street warning Theresa May not to isolate the majority of Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations.

Foyle MLA Mr Eastwood said the SDLP will not stand by while the British Government “silence the voice of the majority of people in Northern Ireland who voted to remain”.

“Previously, I wrote to the Prime Minister requesting that all parties in the North be given a seat at the Joint Ministerial Council to advocate the views of those we represent given the current political stalemate,” Mr Eastwood said.

“The Prime Minister didn’t even have the courtesy to reply herself, never mind fulfil a reasonable request.

“Today, I sent a memo directly to the Prime Minister warning her that the remain majority will not stand for a one sided negotiation.

“The DUP does not speak for Northern Ireland. Nor does Mr James Brokenshire or Theresa May.

“Those of us, all of us with mandates, have a responsibility to the people of the North who elected us to defend their interests. That means defending the economic, social and political interests of all people here.

“All of us must see the detail of the agreed the negotiating position if the DUP is to be consulted.”

“Arlene Foster is not the First Minister of Northern Ireland. Nor is Michelle O’Neill the Joint First Minister. Both the DUP and Sinn Fein abdicated those rights when they decided to call time on the talks process,” he added.

Mr Eastwood said his own party wanted to maintain membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union.

“That is the only way to prevent a hard border on this Island,” he said.