Brexit ruling: Blockers ‘need to respect referendum’

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds

The deputy leader of the DUP has told those attempting to block Brexit they need to respect the democratic will of the people.

Nigel Dodds MP expressed his party’s disappointment at the High Court ruling on Article 50, but said it would be appealed by a “determined government”.

Mr Dodds said: “On June 23 the British people as a whole gave a clear mandate for the UK government to leave the EU. There must be no attempt to block Brexit by people who refuse to accept the will of the people of the UK.

“This was a democratic vote and one which must be respected.

“The Government are determined to respect that result.”

He added: “It is ironic that some of those who criticised the DUP for not attending yesterday’s talking shop in Dublin are those who refuse to take their seats in the sovereign parliament at Westminster making representation for those whom they are supposed to represent.

“Remainers will seek to use this as a basis to call for a second referendum or indeed scaremonger and indeed this is deeply damaging to democracy.

“Throughout the negotiations, twists and turns of leaving the European Union, we will ensure that the people of the United Kingdom get the best deal.”

Meanwhile, the Ulster Unionist Party adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach.

A UUP spokesperson said: “We will study the detail of this judgment. We are very aware that the Government will appeal this decision in the Supreme Court and we will wait for the outcome of that.”

The TUV’s Jim Allister said: “Parliament has already had its say on the matter when it passed an act empowering the people by making provision for the referendum.

“Those anti-democratic forces in the UK who attempt to suggest that they are standing up for parliament would do well to remember that fact. And so should the courts.”

At Belfast High Court last week, Raymond McCord failed in a legal bid challenging Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to call Brexit negotiations with Europe.

Mr McCord’s lawyers argued unsuccessfully that the people of Northern Ireland could exercise a veto over withdrawal talks using rights enshrined in law at the end of the Troubles.

Following Thursday’s judgment, he said: “If the vote goes to MPs, I want to know if the DUP will respect the wishes of the majority 56% in Northern Ireland who want to remain in the EU.

“Unionist MPs are at Westminster to represent the interests of this country – not the UK as a whole.”