To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with the main opposition parties in Northern Ireland.
8 February 2017
Ministers in the Department for Exiting the European Union are fully engaged on issues related to Northern Ireland. Both the Secretary of State and I have visited Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland keeps closely engaged on a range of issues of mutual interest and concern with Northern Ireland’s political parties and independents, including on the subject of the UK’s exit from the EU. This engagement includes parties that opted not to join the outgoing Executive.
We want to hear views from all parts of the United Kingdom. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations (JMC(EN)) has met on a monthly basis since its inception, and will continue to meet regularly to understand and consider each administration’s priorities; to seek to agree a UK approach to, and objectives for, negotiations, and to consider proposals put forward by the devolved administrations. The Joint Ministerial Committee is also meeting more frequently in plenary format: the Prime Minister has chaired two meetings since the referendum. Representatives from the DUP and Sinn Fein both attended JMC(P) on Monday 30th January and have attended every JMC(EN). Northern Ireland Executive Ministers remain in place until any election and discussions can continue. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland continues to undertake discussions with all of the main political parties and independents in Northern Ireland.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Prime Minister are fully committed to ensuring that as we establish our negotiating position the unique interests of Northern Ireland are protected and advanced. They have a clear understanding of the range of views from across Northern Ireland and will continue to champion NI’s interests over the coming months.
We want to see the political situation in NI resolved and Assembly government continuing and that is what the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is working hard to achieve.
Ministers in our Department will continue to seek the views of all communities and parties in Northern Ireland.