Fintan O'Toole: What if Corbyn offered Sinn Féin a Border poll?

Party’s voters have a right to know on what terms abstentionism might be abandoned

Jeremy Corbyn and Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photograph: Brian Lawless/AFP via Getty

Jeremy Corbyn and Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photograph: Brian Lawless/AFP via Getty

The question is obvious and voters in Northern Ireland have a right to an answer before they go to the polls on December 12th. What will Sinn Féin do if the election results in a hung parliament? More specifically, what will it do if its votes could make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister and he makes the party an offer it surely can’t refuse?

The offer is this: take your seats to vote me into office and support me on any confidence motions, and in return I will give you a Border poll. Does Sinn Féin really rule out such a deal? And if not, it surely needs to be honest with voters and prepare them in advance for the possibility that the policy of abstentionism is not as absolute as party dogma has always claimed it to be.

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