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Uk’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:54 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 3:54 pm, 13th March 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for the opportunity to do so, because there is high anxiety in Northern Ireland, and indeed across Ireland as a whole—across all different communities—about the prospect of no deal. The people of Northern Ireland know that the open border is a manifestation of peace, and there is great concern that if anything happens at the border, that could put back the good work that has been done over the past 20 years. That anxiety is being debated while some of those elected to this House are not here to make known the views of those whom they were elected to represent. I do not say one way or another whether that voice should be here, but it is not in this debate. The Northern Ireland Executive are not functioning, so the constitutional circumstances that prevail in Northern Ireland, for a variety of reasons—I am casting no judgment—are such that there could hardly be a worse time to have this discussion. It has turned into a discussion about the very future of the island of Ireland. That is why I am impatient with those who think that we could somehow deal with the issue with a drone and a camera, because we could not.