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Press Cycle 7 - Northern Ireland
#11
This government is being held up by one vote alone: a vote that now is solely in the hands of a foreign political party determined to break up the Union. Labour and the rest of the coalition can try and claim that that nothing has changed and the agreement that was made with the former SDLP still stands, but it is clear to me, and to us all, that things have changed. Whilst Ireland is our partner, our neighbour, our ally and our friend, but the fact remains that Fianna Fail and Irish Labour are foreign political parties that take their orders from Dublin. The leader of Fianna Fail has been clear he thinks the time is coming soon for calling a border poll - something the Northern Ireland secretary has obfuscated on when asked about. 

With two pro-Republic MPs now holding the government in the palm of their hand, the stakes for the Union have never been higher. The Coalition's decision has put the security and livelihoods of the people of Northern Ireland at risk, and we must stand against this dangerous decision.


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The accusation that the Conservatives are somehow standing against the Good Friday Agreement, and that to criticise this coalition is to somehow put the peace process at risk, is absolutely ridiculous. There's a few points here. Firstly, Robert Lascelles claims that our decision to negotiate with the DUP and UUP was a "danger" to the Good Friday Agreement. What I consider the real danger is allowing foreign political parties to hold the government to ransom on a flimsy set of confidence agreements. Secondly, some cabinet ministers have taken it upon themselves to spout nonsense that, by criticising the actions of the government in regard to Northern Ireland, the Conservatives are putting the GFA at risk. This statement is a lie, a total and complete lie. Part of any government is an effective opposition holding the government's actions to account and demanding transparency. Labour claimed this too in opposition, only to attempt to clamp down on criticism and shy away from scrutiny now they are in government. A shameful claim from a sham government.
Julia Goldman
Shadow Secretary of State for Scoltand
Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Growth
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
Member of Parliament for Dumfries and Galloway (2019 - present)
Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Media Darling/Campaigning Guru/Socially Unaware
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#12
I have to echo the sentiments of Naomi Long from the Alliance Party - the unprecedented aspect of this situation, and the one that should alarm everyone convinced about the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement and good governance more broadly, is the Conservative Party openly indulging in sectarian rhetoric. That is irresponsible. That is taking sides. That means the Conservative frontbench - as it currently exists - stands at risk of losing all credibility to be future guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. I urge them, not as a party political point but as a plea for common sense, to recognise that this is one issue where their hyperbolic and negative campaigning is unsuitable, and to please stop with such provocative language. 

The fact is, there being parties that operate on both sides of the Irish border is not new. They are not "foreign parties" - they are registered in the UK, compliant with UK law, their representatives elected in UK elections. Again, I will urge William Grey to travel to Northern Ireland, to meet with people like Naomi Long, Margaret Ritchie, Colum Eastwood and ordinary people across the sectarian lines to understand the issues he is spinning into party political points.
Grant Smith
Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West (2005-present)

Media Unknown, Constituency Appeal, Campaign Organiser, Fundraiser Extraordinaire 
Previously: Sir Lachlan Domnhall Coinneach Duncan MacMahon; Graham Adiputera; I think I played some dull Labour bloke at one point
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#13
It was my privilege to be able to confirm to the House of Commons that cross-party talks had been successful and that the Northern Ireland Executive will resume its work on behalf of the communities of Northern Ireland.

When we entered Government a few months ago, talks had stalled and had suffered by a mixture of neglect and obsession with Brexit at the top of the Tory Party.

In Government, Labour has made clear that protecting and representing the communities of Northern Ireland is a top priority. Three months later and we have delivered on that.

I thank the DUP and Sinn Fein, and particularly the women at their respective helms, for their leadership in this matter and for ensuring that talks were productive and meaningful for all of the communities in Northern Ireland.
James 'Jim' Kennedy MP
Home Secretary
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
MP for Wansbeck (2010-) | Labour and Cooperative
Traits: Media Darling, Backbench Favourite, Finite Resources
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#14
Press cycle extended by 48 hours.
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#15
While I am glad to see that the parties in Northern Ireland were able to work things out for themselves, this does nothing to change the fact that the previous collapse of power-sharing was due to an internal scandal nor the fact that the previous collapse, under Labour, was also due to an internal situation.  Ultimately, the internal governance of Northern Ireland is something that will work or not work on the basis of the decisions of the voters there and the parties in their assembly, and who gets elected elsewhere in the UK is going to have very little to do with that.

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I wish the people of Northern Ireland well, but sorting out power sharing there does nothing to affect the uncomfortable and disconcerting situation in Westminster.  It's worth noting that the parties which sorted things out in Northern Ireland weren't the parties entangled in the current Westminster embroligo; I would go so far as to say that the two situations have very little to do with one another.
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#16
This morning I spoke before the House of Commons to commend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for his work, while fulfilling the Opposition's duty to question and provide the necessary oversight of the Government's actions. I encourage the House to join me in thanking the Secretary of State for his efforts, recognizing that Stormont resuming activity is objectively good for our country. But the bottom line is this: this is a moment that reminds us how vital it is that we have a Government capable of acting as an honest broker under the guidelines provided by the GFA, a duty I remain unconvinced this Government can fulfill. The Government must not only be practically impartial in matters relating to Northern Ireland, but they must be seen to be impartial in all matters relating to Northern Ireland. I am still deeply unconvinced that the Government is in a position to do that given they're dependence upon Fianna Fall, and it will be vital for the Conservative Party to continue to be diligent in holding the Government to account on their responsibilities relating to the GFA. 

What is good for Northern Ireland is good for the whole of the United Kingdom. All of us in Parliament must be steadfast in our support for Northern Ireland, and in our defense and advocacy of the Union. I know I speak for the whole of the Conservative and Unionist Party that we intend to live up to our name and deliver policies, even in Opposition, that serve the interests of all four constituent parts of our Union.
William West MP - Conservative Party

Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
MP for Ribble Valley (2015 - )
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#17
That power-sharing has been restored is a great relief, and credit must be given to the parties involved. 

I understand that it took compromises from both the DUP and Sinn Fein, and I applaud them for that. Nowhere is the spirit of compromise and pragmatism more important, more critical in preserving communities, than it is in Northern Ireland. I also want to thank other voices in Northern Ireland - such as Naomi Long of the Alliance Party and Lady Sylvia Hermon - for their calls for calm and respectable rhetoric. And the work of James Kennedy and Caroline Blakesley in facilitating this agreement and fulfilling the UK government's responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement. 

I do, of course, believe that equal marriage and an end to the criminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland are moral imperatives, as human rights should be applied throughout the UK, and will be lending my support to campaigners working to achieve that in Northern Ireland.
Grant Smith
Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West (2005-present)

Media Unknown, Constituency Appeal, Campaign Organiser, Fundraiser Extraordinaire 
Previously: Sir Lachlan Domnhall Coinneach Duncan MacMahon; Graham Adiputera; I think I played some dull Labour bloke at one point
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#18
I’m very pleased that power sharing has returned to Northern Ireland. It’s vital that during these unstable times in Westminster that all the people of the people of the regions can have representation in their local Assembly. During these times, making sure we have functional regional Parliaments is absolutely vital. Because when Westminster is in a situation like now, it can leave a lot of vulnerability for people to have no MPs in Westminster and no MLAs in Stormont. I’m happy that power sharing has been restored and hopeful that all parties can work together in Northern Ireland in the future.

I now hope that we can have more co-operation between all political parties in Westminster as well as we look towards the future with a mist of uncertainty clouding our judgement and in many ways leading to rash decisions by some people which destabilise the situation even further all the way back in the capital.
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#19
The agreement returning devolution to Stormont is a historic one that sets Northern Ireland back on a track towards meaningful, devolved government. For the past two years a lack of action in Northern Ireland forced the citizens of Northern Ireland to depend on Westminster for progress - and for much of that time Westminster failed. During that time, Northern Ireland was not given a voice in attempts by the last government to erect a barrier between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Northern Ireland was not allowed to pursue their own discussions on societal progress, even as Great Britain took steps to expand the rights of people across our island home. Northern Ireland could not work to develop its economy, as politicians in Westminster took a London-centric approach that abandoned needs of the nations under the last Government. Today that changes. This Government took meaningful action to ensure the people of Northern Ireland will have their government and their voice heard. That is something that should be commended.
Caroline Blakesley MP DCB
Prime Minister (June 2019-)
MP for Manchester Central (2015-) | Labour
Traits: Fundraising Extraordionare, Campaign Guru, Media Darling, Constituency Pariah
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#20
Fianna Fail agreed to respect a Confidence and Supply agreement, akin to the one the Tories signed with the DUP, UUP and TUV. It was perfectly within the bounds of the Good Friday Agreement.  But this is a designed distraction.

Labour in Government has a strong case for Northern Ireland. After years of the Tories neglecting issues around power-sharing, around petitions of concerns, around constitution and around the border, the Labour Party have dedicated our short few months in Government so far to making sure Northern Ireland is a top priority.

It was absolutely right to put power-sharing talks at the top of our Government agenda, and we have delivered. It was absolutely right to work with all communities, nationalist and unionist, and it paid off. It was absolutely right to rule out a double border, a hard border with the Republic and a border of any sorts in the Irish sea.

As we approach a general election for the second time this year, we must be clear; Labour have put Northern Ireland and our responsibilities under the Belfast Agreement at the top of our agenda. Only Labour is serious about committing to a more prosperous Northern Ireland.

The Tories legacy was stark; no investment, no power-sharing, no commitment to work with all communities, years of no progress, a hard border with the Republic, splitting the UK with a border in the Irish sea.  Labour's record in Government speaks for itself; working with all communities, proper levels of investment, ruling out a hard border. That is Northern Ireland under Labour.
James 'Jim' Kennedy MP
Home Secretary
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
MP for Wansbeck (2010-) | Labour and Cooperative
Traits: Media Darling, Backbench Favourite, Finite Resources
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