Northern Ireland's new Secretary of State: "UK government will not be having a border down the Irish Sea" 7 months ago

Northern Ireland's new Secretary of State: "UK government will not be having a border down the Irish Sea"

He made the statement during his first official visit to Northern Ireland today.

Brandon Lewis made his first official visit to Northern Ireland today (Friday 14 February), just one day after he was announced to replace Julian Smith as the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Lewis told journalists today in Belfast the following (via BBC News):

"The United Kingdom is going to be one area and all will be able to benefit from our future global trade deals. I appreciate what Michel Barnier [European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom] says, he's a very good man trying to do a good job for the EU. But this is also the man who said we couldn't open the Withdrawal Agreement.

"Our Prime Minister got that agreement open, got a new agreement. We've got it through parliament, we've left the European Union. And we're going to build for a better economy for the whole of the United Kingdom as one. We are absolutely clear. As a UK government, we will not be having a border down the Irish Sea."

Additionally, while speaking on BBC Radio Four, the DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "It's not for Sinn Féin to decide whether a border poll happens or not - it's for the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, if he looks at Northern Ireland and decides that there has been a change.

"Actually the change has been in the opposite direction and the union needs to be underscored as the best for all of the people of Northern Ireland. To do that, Brandon Lewis has to be an advocate for the union and I very much hope that he is."