Lord Empey: I welcome minister ruling out referendums

The House of Lords, where Lord Empey asked about referendums. Photo: PA Wire
The House of Lords, where Lord Empey asked about referendums. Photo: PA Wire

During a Private Notice Question in the House of Lords on Tuesday, following Nicola Sturgeon’s request for a second Scottish Independence Referendum, I called on Her Majesty’s Government to rule out both a second referendum on Scottish Independence and a border poll in Northern Ireland.

Responding for the government, Scottish Office Minister Lord Dunlop confirmed that the prime minister was ruling out another referendum in Scotland, and he also stated that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP, had ruled out a border poll on the grounds that the terms for such a poll are set out in the Belfast Agreement and such conditions are not met.

I obviously welcome these commitments from the government, but it is clear that nationalists, of whatever stripe, both in Scotland and Northern Ireland, are interested in only one thing: their ideological obsession with ‘independence.’

This at a time when both in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, they are turning their minds away from the crises in health and education services where they should be focusing their attention.

There is one other common denominator between them, and to this we can add Fianna Fail’s plans for Irish unity: they all want ‘independence’ but want London to continue to subsidise their standard of living!

What sort of independence is that?

It’s an illusion. Far from being ‘independent’ they are confirming their inability to maintain states without massive external subsidies and consequently highlight the utter illogicality of their own arguments.

Lord Empey, Ulster Unionist Party Chairman, Westminster