Mike Nesbitt: O Muilleoir is a hypocrite for his attack on UK minister

Letters to Editor
Letters to Editor
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It is the absolute height of hypocrisy that Mairtin O Muilleoir of Sinn Fein can criticise the chief secretary to the Treasury for not providing enough information on the impact of leaving the European Union.

The now failed Northern Ireland executive, which he served as finance minister, has not even submitted a Brexit plan to the United Kingdom government.

Both the Scottish and Welsh governments have submitted substantive policy submissions to the Joint Ministerial Committee.

What has the Northern Ireland Executive produced?

Nothing, apart from a two page letter which is barely worth mentioning.

How can the United Kingdom government possibly know what the priorities of the Northern Ireland executive are post-Brexit?

In the aftermath of the referendum result, the Ulster Unionist Party established a Brexit Advisory Panel consisting of representatives from business, community & voluntary sector, farming & agri-food, and universities, amongst others.

Unfortunately, the executive has not listened to those sectors most likely to be impacted by Brexit.

Back in September, the Ulster Unionist Party produced our ‘Vision for Northern Ireland outside the European Union’ which addressed areas of concern, but also looked to maximise the opportunities of Brexit.

We presented our document directly to the prime minister, to the Department for Exiting the European Union, to the leader of the House of Commons and to several other prominent figures in the UK government.

Regarding the issue of the border, we have called for imaginative ideas to ensure the Common Travel Area is maintained and to guarantee that Northern Ireland citizens do not face a hard border when travelling to other parts of the United Kingdom.

Inspiration could be taken from the Calais model, where the United Kingdom government part fund immigration control in France, or how the United States operates customs and security controls at Dublin Airport.

While Mairtin and his executive colleagues were asleep at the wheel, the Ulster Unionist Party has been working to address the implications of Brexit.

Unlike the DUP and Sinn Fein we will not be found wanting in promoting the interests of Northern Ireland.

Mike Nesbitt, Ulster Unionist Party leader, Strangford