Tuesday, 13 Apr 2021

Tory MP says ‘Brexit is no excuse’ for violence in Northern Ireland as unrest continues

Northern Ireland: Bus seen being firebombed in Belfast

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The civil unrest which erupted in Northern Ireland has partly been blamed on Brexit. Speaking on BBC Newsnight Former Conservative Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said she doesn’t believe Northern Ireland is in jeopardy.

“I do not believe that the peace process is in jeopardy,” said Ms Villiers.

“It’s a depressing fact that rioting and lawlessness of the kind we’ve seen on the streets over recent days is something that has disfigured Northern Ireland over decades.

“We need a robust police response to it but references back to Brexit are not an excuse for these rioters.

“Nothing justifies what they’re doing.”

Last night, water cannons were deployed to counter rioters after they refused to acknowledge police warnings to disperse.

Currently, over 50 police officers have been injured in the ongoing unrest in the country.

On Thursday, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis admitted that Brexit had created “real issues” for the country but added that the way to solve them was through negotiation, not violence.

Ms Villiers tried to justify the actions of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who promised there would be no need for Northern Irish businesses to sign custom declaration forms.

She said: “The Prime Minister and Lord Frost are doing everything they can to make the protocol work. It was a difficult compromise for them to have to agree.”

“What they are doing now is to try to find a way to deal with the frictions which have arisen under the protocol. The problem is particularly acute in relation to food but there are solutions…”

Last month, Ms Villiers made the point that the protocol did have the potential to cause “serious political instability”.

She added: “I am not understating the problems caused by the protocol.

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“I in the longer term want to see it replaced all together so that we no longer have a situation where Northern Ireland is stuck in single market rules without a say over them.”

She later stated that she wanted a reworking on the Northern Ireland deal.

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