Border poll could trigger vote every seven years - Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister has responded the growing debate over an Irish border poll, saying it is for the Secretary of State to decide if the poll can be justified.

In a statement issued after the DUP indicated they were considering backing the Sinn Fein demand for a border poll, Mr Allister said a decision to hold a vote on Irish unity could cause future instability.

“Whether the DUP’s lurch towards meeting Sinn Fein’s demand for a border poll is stunt politics or a thought ought strategy, it certainly doesn’t grapple with the statutory reality which dictates the only circumstances in which a border poll can be held,” said the North Antrim MLA.

“As a condition precedent to the calling of any such poll the Secretary of State must believe the outcome would likely provide an Irish unity majority.

“Is the DUP seriously suggesting the Secretary of State should be so satisfied, not forgetting that a poll can then trigger successive polls every seven years - a recipe for constitutional instability?

“Unless the Secretary of State is satisfied a majority want to leave the UK is likely, which seems fantasy, then, there is no legislative basis whereby a referendum can be held.

“It would require legislative amendment to permit a referendum without the strings attached of anticipating a vote in favour of destruction of the UK.

“We are part of the UK, some tell us the Union has never been safer, so a referendum premised on expecting change and triggering a series of referenda, does not seem sensible or stabilising politics,” Mr Allister added.