Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA, has congratulated Boris Johnson on his election as Leader of the Conservative Party and his imminent appointment as Prime Minister.
Mr Swann said:
“I offer my congratulations to Boris Johnson on his election as the new leader of the Conservative Party and his imminent appointment as Prime Minister. At such a critical time in the history of the United Kingdom, his appointment as Prime Minister brings with it enormous responsibilities.
“At this point I would like to pay tribute to Theresa May and thank her for her service to the entire United Kingdom. One thing that was never in doubt during her tenure was her belief in the Union.
“There is now immense expectation as to the next steps the new Prime Minister will take and one of those must be the restoration of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly. The Ulster Unionist Party is willing and able to work with Mr Johnson to ensure this happens but if that is unattainable in the short term, then he must move to ensure further critical decisions are taken by Westminster.
“The bottom line for the Prime Minister is that any decisions he takes must be in the best interests of all of the United Kingdom and that includes doing everything possible to avoid a no-deal Brexit. I urge him not to allow nationalism in Northern Ireland or Scotland to exploit the current instability for selfish political interests. I look forward to meeting Boris Johnson soon to make those points directly.”
Ulster Unionist Peer Lord Empey said:
“Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his election. He faces many onerous tasks and huge political decisions in the months ahead. I strongly encourage him to continue to seek alternatives to the backstop which threatens Northern Ireland`s position within the United Kingdom. We have suggested alternatives and I hope he can take them on board as a part of a potential solution to the political bind which the EU and UK currently find themselves in.
"I wish him well and I hope that in the months ahead, he can bring political stability to the country which allows politicians to concentrate on the many issues affecting ordinary people throughout the United Kingdom.”