Could Brexit Derail The Northern Ireland Peace Process?

17 March 2017, 08:35

A Labour MP has suggested that Brexit could end up derailing the Northern Ireland peace process.

Seema Malhotra told Iain Dale's Brexit Briefing that many of the politicians she has spoken to in the Republic of Ireland believe Britain leaving the EU threatens the Good Friday Agreement.

Ms Malhotra said: "When I went to the Republic of Ireland and I met with politicians from different parties, the biggest point they made is the risk that they feel to the Good Friday Agreement. They feel the Brexit vote has shot them in the foot too.

"There are consequences for them and I don't think we can sit here honestly and responsibly as politicians and not acknowledge that there is a risk, unintended or otherwise, and it could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom."

But former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers insisted that would not be the case, responding: "I always believe that you should take a lot of care about suggestions that the Good Friday agreement would be destabilised because that's suggesting that Northern Ireland may return to violence. I don't believe that that is the case.

"I don't believe that the Brexit vote has jeopardised the Good Friday Agreement in any way whatsoever and I also strongly believe that we can, if we're pragmatic, find a way to deal with the border and ensure that it continues to be more or less as open as it is today.

"We've had a common travel area with our Ireland since the creation of Irish State."