Stormont to determine fate of Brexit and Westminster
On Thursday an amendment has been made to legislation at Westminster which prevents a crash Brexit coming about by the suspension of the London parliament unless Stormont is restored.
A majority of 41 approved an amendment that blocks suspension of Westminster between 9 October and 18 December, unless Sinn Fein, the DUP, Dublin and London all agree to bring back the Six County power-sharing Executive.
The amendment is a result of parliamentary tactics to block a hard Brexit and resulted from a number of changes to legislation initially passed last week to continue ad hoc Direct Rule and postpone an Assembly election in the North.
There is concern that Boris Johnson (tipped to be the next Prime Minister) intends to prorogue or suspend Westminster in order to force through a no-deal Brexit, crashing Britain out of the EU and disastrously taking the Six Counties of the north of Ireland with it.
The amendment has increased the linkage between the Brexit crisis and the ongoing political crisis in the North.
Last week, the traditional disinterest of the Westminster parliament to events the north in Ireland came to a sudden end when amendments were passed by Labour MPs, with the acquiescence of the current London government under Theresa May, to introduce abortion and same-sex marriage in the Six Counties.
That was a significant shot across the bows of both the DUP and the Hard-Brexiteers led by Boris Johnson. But Thursday's development is another steep escalation in a political civil war in Britain.
The DUP said the vote was “designed to weaken the hand” of the next prime minister.
But Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said Brexit ‘sabre-rattling’ from Boris Johnson must be faced down by the Dublin government and the EU if he becomes the next British Prime Minister.
Mr Ó Muilleoir said: “To date there has been nothing genuine or sensible coming from either of the two contenders to succeed Theresa May as Tory Leader and British Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have been pandering to the hard-right in the Tory Party by dismissing the Backstop and stressing their willingness to leave the EU without a deal on October 31st."
Mr Ó Muilleoir pointed to official reports which have warned that a no-deal Brexit would plunge Britain into recession.
“That is the reality of the economic catastrophe that Boris Johnson and his supporters in the DUP are prepared to foist upon these islands,” he said. “If, as expected, he does become the next British Prime Minister, this reckless sabre-rattling and posturing must be faced down by the Dublin government and the rest of the EU 27.”