BBC QT: Where was the consent in Northern Ireland? Alliance leader slams Brexit

Northern Ireland: 'Must be border somewhere' says Zuleeg

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Ms Long, Member of the Legislative Assembly(MLA) for Belfast East, also asked what concern there had been for The Good Friday agreement at the time of the EU referendum. She said: “I think it’s clear when you listen to business, that the biggest impediment facing business at the moment is political instability.

“And that has always been the case and the Government at times plays fast and loose with our political instability here.

“I mean I listened carefully to Robert (Buckland) saying ‘the importance of consent’.

“Where was the consent in Northern Ireland for Brexit? Where was the concern on the impact on The Good Friday Agreement?

“The majority of people in Northern Ireland did not consent to that change.

“Instead the Government not only ploughed ahead with Brexit but ploughed ahead with the hardest form of Brexit.”

Ms Long also added that she didn’t support the Northern Ireland Protocol but said it does present “opportunities” that could only be realised if the Northern Ireland Assembly got up and running again.

She added: “The protocol was designed, not something that I supported, but was designed by his Government as a soft landing for Brexit in order that Northern Ireland would be insulated from the difficulties that Brexit was going to create in terms of the friction.

“It also presents us with opportunities, but the only way we can exploit those opportunities to balance the negatives is if we get back into Government and start working to deliver for people. 

“What businesses need is an agreed solution. They need an agreed way forward.

“We are pragmatic around the protocol. If there are ways the protocol can be diminished in terms of its impact then let’s grasp that with both hands.

“But what we can’t do is throw the protocol out, because without the protocol the entire trade and cooperation agreement between the EU and the UK is put in jeopardy. 

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“And that will have major impacts for everyone in terms of creating financial trade war and inflationary pressure.

“Now we need to think long and hard about whether we want to layer upon layer the challenges people are facing, or whether as politicians we should be sitting down rationally looking for solutions to make life easier for the people we represent.”

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