Foster: No regrets over backing Brexit, but we all need to move on

Arlene Foster said Remain campaigners should help get the best deal for Northern Ireland
Arlene Foster said Remain campaigners should help get the best deal for Northern Ireland

First Minister Arlene Foster has said that she has no regrets about backing Brexit.

Mrs Foster called on Remain campaigners to accept the decision and get on with the business of getting the “best deal” for Northern Ireland in the exit negotiations.

She said: “The campaign is over, the decision has been taken, we now need to move on to create that stability that of course we all want to see here in Northern Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom.”

Mrs Foster claimed a lot of the fears about a UK exit from the EU had been “whipped up”.

“It is regrettable that some parties have set their face against the decision of the United Kingdom electorate,” she said.

“However, after a while they will realise that we have to get on and we have to do the things that we were elected to do and that is to represent the people of Northern Ireland.”

She added: “I am certainly very focused on getting the best deal for Northern Ireland and I hope that others who are engaged, frankly, in campaigns that have already been fought, have already been decided, need to move on and get together and work for all the people of Northern Ireland.”

Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the Province had been left facing “enormous challenges” in the wake of the referendum vote.

“The number one priority given the nature of the decision that was taken last week is to ensure we maintain our relationship with Europe,” he said.

“We see our future as being in Europe. That poses huge challenges for British government and Irish government.”

In Northern Ireland, four of the five main political parties supported Remain – Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and Alliance Party, although the UUP’s membership is divided on the issue.

Earlier this week, representatives from the pro-Remain parties met to discuss the potential of putting forward a united front on the issue.

Theresa Villiers said: “There’s cross-party agreement that farm subsidies are essential and must continue and one would expect, given the way the current devolution settlement works, that Stormont would be in the driving seat in terms of allocating those farm subsidies, but these are things that must await the conclusion of the negotiation.”