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North reacts to new PM Boris

Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister  Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister
By Conor McParland

POLITICAL representatives have been giving their reaction after Boris Johnston was elected new Prime Minister.

After a long-running Conservative leadership contest, Boris Johnson saw off rival Jeremy Hunt and will officially take over from Theresa May today (Wednesday).

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill says her party will continue to stand up for the Irish interests in the face of Johnson’s “reckless Brexit agenda”.

“Sinn Féin will work to protect our peace process and the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, including the commitment to calling a referendum on Irish unity,” he said.

“The British government has responsibilities and commitments under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and we will hold them to account.

“We will continue to stand up for Irish interests, for the majority of citizens in the north who voted on a cross-community basis to remain within the EU.

“We will continue to work with the Dublin government and the EU27 to protect Ireland from the catastrophic impact of the reckless Brexit being pursued by Boris Johnson and the hard Brexiteers.”
DUP Leader Arlene Foster congratulated Mr Johnson on his election.

“I have spoken with Boris Johnson and congratulated him on becoming leader of the Conservative Party,” she said.

“We discussed our shared objectives of strengthening every part of the union, ensuring the 2016 referendum result is implemented and seeing devolution restored in Northern Ireland.

“The Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party remains. That Agreement included a review between each Parliamentary session. This will take place over the coming weeks and will explore the policy priorities of both parties for the next Parliamentary session.

“I also look forward to welcoming Mr Johnson back to Northern Ireland shortly after he becomes Prime Minister.”

Alliance Leader Naomi Long said the UK needs a “statesman, not a showman”.
“Everyone will have their own opinion on Boris Johnson and his career to date,” she said.

However, it is now vital as he takes up the reins as Prime Minister he demonstrates a level of leadership and seriousness which has been lacking to date. At such a critical juncture, we need someone who is detail focused and sensitive to the complexity of the challenges ahead. In short, we need a statesman, not a showman.

“Boris Johnson’s road to the Conservative Party leadership has been paved with destructive half-truths, bluster and outright lies, many of which helped precipitate the crisis from which he is now personally benefiting. With an impending no-deal Brexit and the stark choices facing us, we need substantive answers from him to what are incredibly serious and complex questions.

“To date he has failed to demonstrate any real understanding of the needs of Northern Ireland, particularly in the context of Brexit and especially in a no deal scenario – needs that require more than merely a can-do attitude to resolve.

“The Irish border is a delicate and nuanced issue, with resonance far beyond trading arrangements and with the potential to unpick the fabric of the Good Friday Agreement if mishandled. It is also impacting on the ability of parties to restore the political institutions here. He now needs to demonstrate his ability to act with sensitivity and impartiality in his engagements with local parties.

“It’s time to cut the bluff, bluster and bombastic rhetoric and start to provide the kind of reassurance business and civic society needs. Whilst I remain sceptical he will do that, I wish him well and will be more than happy to be proved wrong.”

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