Special Status for Northern Ireland

Brexit could have profound effects on the people of Northern Ireland – on their economy, their society, and their human rights. There have been many calls for ‘special status’ for the North in the context of Brexit negotiations. But what does that mean? What EU institutions will they have access to? How well will their rights as Irish citizens, and therefore EU citizens, be protected? An ‘invisible border’ sounds lovely – but Brexit was largely about taking back control of borders, which means stopping people entering the UK, which is pretty hard to do with an ‘invisible border’. When we met the Northern Ireland delegation earlier this week, I asked the Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire, if the UK might consider putting the border in the Irish Sea (i.e., somewhere between the North & Britain). It seems that’s not being considered. We need to start getting into the specifics right now – here’s my first 6 minutes in the Chamber on same.