Theresa May to make Brexit reassurance visit to Northern Ireland
British prime minister’s two-day visit will include trip to the border area
Britain’s prime minister Theresa May will be in Northern Ireland on Thursday and Friday. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
The purpose of the trip will be to reaffirm her “commitment to the union and a Brexit that works for the whole United Kingdom”. She will also say there will be no hard border with the Republic and no border “down the Irish Sea”.
Downing Street said that Ms May will be in Northern Ireland over Thursday and Friday in a trip that will include a visit to the border area.
Her spokeswoman said Ms May will meet business people at the border and listen to their views on the UK quitting the European Union. She will hear “what working, living and trading across the border means to them”.
She will also meet young people in Belfast and speak to them about their vision for Northern Ireland’s future.
“The prime minister will reaffirm her commitment to a Brexit that avoids a hard border and protects the Belfast Agreement,” said the spokeswoman.
Ms May will deliver a speech on Friday in Belfast “which will emphasise her personal commitment to the strength of the UK’s four nations and the solutions set out in the White Paper that address Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances”.
She is also expected to meet the North’s political parties to discuss how to restore the powersharing Northern Executive.
“I look forward to hearing views from businesses on the border in Northern Ireland on our departure from the European Union,” said Ms May on Wednesday. “I fully recognise how their livelihoods, families and friends rely on the ability to move freely across the border to trade, live and work on a daily basis.
“That’s why we have ruled out any kind of hard border. Daily journeys will continue to be seamless and there will be no checks or infrastructure at the border to get in the way of this.
“I’ve also been clear we will not accept the imposition of any border down the Irish Sea and we will preserve the integrity of the UK’s internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.
“From the start of the negotiations, the UK government has put Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances at the heart of our negotiations. And nothing will undermine our commitment to protecting the Belfast Agreement.
“I also look forward to meeting political parties on working together to restore stable and effective devolved government for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.”