Lord Kilclooney: Report on Brexit and NI is so biased it discredits the Lords

The Houses of Parliament at Westminster in London. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The Houses of Parliament at Westminster in London. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The House of Lords European Union Committee’s report on UK-Irish relations (HL Paper 76) is one of the most shameful and biased reports that I have read during my political career of 50 years.

As a former MEP, as well as former minister in Northern Ireland, I have to say that this disgraceful report discredits the House of Lords.

Letters to editor

Letters to editor

Most of those who were witnesses had an anti-Brexit or Irish nationalist background. This lead the committee to conclude that Northern Ireland should not be treated as part of the UK in its relations with the EU but should have a special status and control its own immigration laws.

This is practice would mean a possible barrier for the first time between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Such a proposal would be overwhelmingly rejected by the majority unionist community in Northern Ireland and it is a matter of concern that Conservative peers on the Committee supported the policy of NI being distanced from the UK.

It is strange that the Committee took evidence from the Irish ambassador; the committee chairman had lunch with the Irish ambassador; took evidence from two former Irish prime ministers; took evidence from three pro-EU parties in NI but in contrast took no evidence from the first minister of Northern Ireland nor any of the pro-Brexit parties in NI including the largest unionist party – the DUP!

The bias of the committee report is so obvious it can be discounted as an Irish nationalist political coup.

I trust that the Conservative government will reject the committee’s message that NI should cease to enjoy UK relations with the EU and should be treated separately.

The Rt. Hon. the Lord Kilclooney, Co Armagh

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