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12th Dec 2018

May condemns Priti Patel’s remarks about using food shortages in Ireland for a better Brexit deal

Paul Moore

Theresa May Priti Patel

Patel’s statement was widely criticised.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the UK will not use potential food shortages in Ireland as a means to seek an improved Brexit deal, or to force the Irish government to drop the backstop.

Last week, Tory MP Priti Patel suggested that the UK government should use potential food shortages in Ireland as leverage against the backstop.

During a session in the House of Commons, May was asked to give her stance on the issue by MP Jim McMahon.

“In 1997, the British prime minister issued an apology to the people of Ireland for their historic role in the great famine. A famine that saw one million people die and a million people displaced from their homeland. That sent out a powerful and important message. Will the Prime Minister condemn any notion – or suggestion – that food shortages in Ireland will be used to strengthen Britain’s hand during the Brexit negotiations?,” asked McMahon.

May responded by saying:

“Can I say to the honourable gentleman that I am happy to absolutely give that assurance. We would not use that issue in any sense, in the negotiation strategy. We want to work with the Irish government to ensure that we are providing a good Brexit for the UK, a good Brexit for Ireland, and I believe that will be a good Brexit for the European Union.”

As mentioned previously, May will face a no confidence vote in the House of Commons after the threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in her leadership has been exceeded.

A ballot will now be held between 6pm and 8pm on Wedneday evening in the House of Commons with the results announced shortly after.

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