The Ulster Unionist Party Leader Robin Swann MLA has led a delegation to meet the new Secretary of State Julian Smith MP at Stormont House.
Robin Swann MLA said:
“I welcomed the opportunity to meet with the new Secretary of State and discuss a number of issues with him with regards to the ongoing political impasse at Stormont.
“I told him that is imperative we see an intensification of the talks’ process so that we can restore a fully functioning Assembly and Executive.
“We also asked him what he plans to do if the talks don’t work, given that Northern Ireland needs to have someone in charge taking decisions on a whole host of important issues, not least health and education, and the fact that we have Brexit looming large on the horizon.
“We also took the opportunity to raise the importance of legacy matters and in particular the grave dangers posed by the Historical Investigations Unit which is neither balanced nor fair and simply will not work.
“I have made it clear that I believe a no-deal Brexit would be dangerous for Northern Ireland. With the lack of a functioning Executive, Northern Ireland will need political decision-making and financial support mechanisms to ensure that our economy doesn't crash. I have therefore written to both Michael Gove and David Sterling asking for a detailed brief about what steps are being taken to prepare Northern Ireland for a no-deal Brexit. They have a duty to the businesses, farmers and people of Northern Ireland to supply as much detail as possible.
“I made it clear to the Secretary of State that the Ulster Unionist Party will do everything we can to help assist the return of devolution, and I welcome the Secretary of State`s commitment to doing likewise. In the continued absence of an Assembly and Executive, the UK Government should prepare to increase the rate of political decision making from Westminster and in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it should implement full direct rule.”