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Northern Ireland news - live: Reunification vote ‘within decade,’ suggests Sinn Fein

Irish nationalist party has hailed ‘new era’ after emerging after winning most seats in Stormont for first time

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 08 May 2022 17:29 BST
Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill hails ‘new era’ in Northern Ireland after victory

The leader of Sinn Fein has stepped up calls for a poll on Irish reunification - and claimed this will happen over the course of the next decade.

Mary Lou McDonald asked for all-Ireland citizens assembly to discuss the idea now after her republican party took the most seats in the Northern Ireland assembly election.

Also on Sunday, the British deputy prime minister said stability in the country was “imperilled” by problems with its post-Brexit agreement.

The unionist DUP will refuse to serve with Sinn Fein in a power-sharing executive unless there are major changes to the Northern Ireland protocol.

Dominic Raab told Sky News: “It’s clear from the dynamic that we now see that we won’t get to that position of stability unless and until it is fixed.”

Over in Westminster, Boris Johnson is planning to announce new laws that will “deliver on the promise of Brexit” as he looks to bounce back from a bruising set of local election results for the Tory party.


Lib Dem ‘not ruling out Labour pact to oust Tories’

The Liberal Democrats would not rule out a pact with Labour to defeat the Conservatives, the party’s deputy leader has suggested.

Daisy Cooper said the Lib Dems had “no interest in doing a coalition with this Conservative government at all”.

Asked about Labour, she told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “The Liberal Democrats have said that we want to win as many seats as possible off the Conservatives at the next general election and one way or another we would like to play a role in ousting this Conservative government.

“It is far too soon - what that might look like, how that might work, but we would want to play a role in ousting this Conservative government, that’s our number one priority.”


Zoe Tidman8 May 2022 14:15

Irish reunification poll ‘will happen’ in next decade, says Sinn Fein leader

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has stepped up call for border poll – asking for all-Ireland citizens assembly to discuss the idea now.

“We have consistently been calling for the meeting of a citizens’ assembly, Ireland-wide, to acknowledge and engage the change that is clearly happening in Ireland, to ensure that we have an inclusive and respectful forum where we can talk about change and, more importantly, plan for change Ireland-wide,” she said on Sunday.

She told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend: “We don’t want to exclude anybody in the change that will happen ... over the course of the next decade, be in no doubt about that.”

Zoe Tidman8 May 2022 14:35

‘Absurd muckracking'

Lisa Nandy has tweeted out a clip of her interview on “beergate” earlier today.

“It seems perfectly clear to me that this seems perfectly in line with every event I’ve done with any Labour leader,” she said.

The shadow foreign secretary said it was “frankly just absurd muckracking” from the government to suggest it was the same as being under investigation for a dozen gatherings - including BYOB and kareoke parties - and saying they had never even happened.

Watch here:

Zoe Tidman8 May 2022 14:58

‘We don’t need threats of unilateral action in Westminster;

Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, has spoken about the Northern Ireland protocol today.

“There’s a responsibility, I think, on us all to respect how the people have voted and to find a way of working with the parties to put an executive and assembly that can work back in place,” he told RTE.

“We don’t need threats of unilateral action, unilateral legislation in Westminster.

“What we need is partnership and intense negotiations to try and finally settle the issues around the protocol without dismantling an international treaty and international law, but by applying the maximum flexibility possible to the existing agreement, to ensure that it’s implemented in a pragmatic and sensible way.”

Zoe Tidman8 May 2022 15:30

Complaints over complaints in MP porn scandal

Boris Johnson’s strategist criticised the manner in which female Conservative MPs raised complaints about colleague Neil Parish for watching porn in parliament, it has been claimed.

Adam Forrest has the full story here:

No 10 strategist ‘criticises MPs’ complaints about porn-watching Tory’

David Canzini said to have told staff he was ‘shocked’ about way Neil Parish scandal was raised

Zoe Tidman8 May 2022 15:45

Students ‘failed’ over ‘sexual assault crisis at universities'

In other news, Labour and Lib Dems have told The Independent students are being “failed” over the “crisis” of sexual harassment and assault on campus.

Current and former students say they feel let down after reporting rape and abuse to their university, with cases not taken seriously enough and not enough care is taken to keep alleged perpetrators away from victims.

Read on here:

Students ‘failed’ over ‘crisis’ of sexual assaults at universities

The regulator is urged to step up action as efforts to tackle abuse on campus fall ‘woefully short’

Zoe Tidman8 May 2022 16:00

National rail strike possible, transport unions warn

Unions have moved closer to being able to call a national rail strike if a dispute over pay and jobs is not resolved.

Delegates at the annual Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) conference have demanded that rail bosses award pay rises at least in line with RPI (retail price index) inflation. They also called on the government to address the cost-of-living crisis.

The union is consulting its representatives about a possible national ballot for industrial action at Network Rail and train operating companies in a dispute over pay, terms and conditions, and job security.

The TSSA said a national rail strike is possible (PA Archive)

Delegates at the TSSA conference in Sheffield gave a clear mandate for industrial action if no progress is made over pay and job security, saying they support the executive committee in any actions it determines are appropriate.

Delegates agreed a motion which read: “If this results in industrial action our union will seek to co-ordinate this with sister unions and other workers taking action to fight the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis.”

Members of another union – the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union – are currently voting on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action over the same issues.

Lamiat Sabin8 May 2022 16:40

That’s it for today’s coverage of politics news. We’ll be back tomorrow.

Lamiat Sabin8 May 2022 17:28

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