Irish Labour Leader Backs Calls For Sinn Fein To Take Commons Seats

27 February 2018, 17:02 | Updated: 27 February 2018, 17:17

The leader of the Irish Labour Party has told LBC Sinn Fein should end its century-old policy of not voting in Parliament in order to stop a so-called hard Brexit.

Brendan Howlin said there should be “no concern” in Sinn Fein participating in Parliament as it was “completely acceptable” and “required”.

He was speaking after Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called on Sinn Fein to help defeat Theresa May’s plans to take Britain out of the EU’s customs union.

Sinn Fein has never taken up seats in Westminster since its MPs were first elected in 1917.

The party refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen and don’t recognise the legitimacy of parliament’s rule over Northern Ireland.

But, Mr Howlin said it was “critically important” for Britain to remain inside a customs union after Brexit to prevent a hard border.

Brendan Howlin Shelagh Fogarty
Picture: PA/LBC

- Everything you need to know about the customs union

Speaking to Shelagh Fogarty, he said: “Anybody who understands the difficulties of the last 40 years in Ireland will understand the impossibility of allowing a hard border to be reinstated.

“It is only by way of having a customs union of some form between the northern and southern parts of the island of Ireland that that can be achieved.

“That’s why I believe it is incumbent on Mary Lou McDonald, the new President of Sinn Fein, to put that to her party.”

He continued: “I think for this issue the six Sinn Fein members who might be the pivotal votes in any decision on a hard border on the island of Ireland should take their seats for this debate and should exercise their right to vote.”

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

The Princess of Wales says she edited the photograph that was released to mark Mother's Day.

The insistence that we see Kate is tantamount to stalking, writes Shelagh Fogarty

Caller tells Shelagh his solution to illegal immigration.

LBC caller tells Shelagh Fogarty that the Channel islands are the answer to 'illegal immigration'

'Rishi Sunak chooses to do the self interested party politics': Shelagh Fogarty reflects on Tories' immigration policies

'Rishi Sunak chooses to do the self-interested party politics': Shelagh Fogarty reflects on Tories' migration policies

Shelagh Fogarty

Former Treasury official outlines 'three immediate priorities' likely to be reflected in Autumn Statement

Shelagh Fogarty

Suella Braverman's hardline crime bill seems like she's ‘interviewing' for career at ‘pathetic’ news channels, says caller

Shelagh and caller Sam

Anti-Semitic chants and actions 'delegitimize' pro-Palestinian cause asserts this Shelagh Fogarty caller

Shelagh and Ricardo Dos Santos

'It's sickening': Ricardo Dos Santos speaks to Shelagh Fogarty as two officers sacked over stop and search


Rishi Sunak has 'failed monumentally' to 'humanise' both sides of the Israel-Hamas conflict says Israel expert

Shelagh and Callum

Twitter is a 'particularly dangerous' place to get information now says the Centre for Countering Digital Hate

Shelagh and caller Simon

LBC caller details 'disgusting anti-Semitic' act he witnessed, as hate crimes rise in fall out of Israel-Hamas war

Sister of missing Israeli woman

'We hope she's hiding somewhere': Sister of missing Israeli festival goer fears she is being held hostage by Hamas

Distraught caller on Israel-Gaza conflict.

'This is a war against Hamas!': Distraught caller wants Israel and Palestine to take down the 'enemy' together

Shelagh and Alicia Kearns

Head of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee expresses concern over Israeli 'siege of Gaza'

Shelagh Fogarty caller on facial recognition.

This caller lacks 'trust' in the government's handling of the AI facial recognition debate

Shelagh condemns PM's comments on 'dignity' of the elderly.

'He painted a picture of a Britain that the Conservatives meant to build...': Shelagh Fogarty condemns PM's suggestion that elderly have 'dignity'

Shelagh Fogarty on Jenrick

'We're full aren't we?': Shelagh questions Robert Jenrick's motive behind encouraging Brits to increase birth rate