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Brexit customs 'mess' will hurt peace in Ireland, says Labour's Corbyn

27 May 2018

In a speech at Queen's University Belfast, the Labour leader will say that the spirit of sacrifice and courage which produced the Belfast Agreement must be rediscovered to secure the next 20 years of peace and greater prosperity.

Jeremy Corbyn wants the Irish government to have a role in Northern Ireland in the continued absence of a power-sharing agreement, he will say in a speech in Belfast.

Mr Corbyn also said a solution must be found to end the deadlock at Stormont.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, a united Ireland can only be brought about with the majority consent of people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"This Government remains resolute in our commitments to Northern Ireland, including upholding the Belfast Agreement".

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Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis dismissed Mr Corbyn's comments, accusing Labour of saying one thing in private and another in public, in a reference to shadow worldwide trade secretary Barry Gardiner's description of the Belfast Agreement as a "shibboleth", for which he subsequently apologised.

"Labour will not support any Brexit deal that includes the return of a hard border to this island".

"The British government is making a mess of these negotiations".

The BIIGC was most recently convened in 2007, during the last prolonged suspension of the Northern Ireland executive.

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar also backs the BIIGC being convened to allow "real and meaningful involvement" by his government, and as an alternative to direct rule in Northern Ireland by Westminster.

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Convening the BIIC is favoured by nationalists, but opposed by the DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) who regard it as a "talking shop".

Mr Williamson said Mr Austin's critique "betrays the fact that he is trapped in a New Labour time warp", and added: "Contrary to Ian's protestations, Jeremy Corbyn has been the saviour of the Labour Party".

Labour supports a democratically-elected second chamber.

Labour said it hadn't received enough notice, but that the shadow Northern Ireland Secretary of State Tony Lloyd has taken up the invite on behalf of his party leader.

Earlier, Mr Corbyn warned that Northern Ireland stood at a potential crossroads between a strengthened peace or a return to the dark days of the past. Never. And whilst Marxism has always been an important strand of thought for some in the party, previous Labour chancellors would never have said they were working to "overthrow capitalism" as John McDonnell did...

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Whether they can contest elections is now subject to an internal review, which is understood to be in its final stages, but any decision to change the current policy would need to be taken by Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC).

Brexit customs 'mess' will hurt peace in Ireland, says Labour's Corbyn