Blog: No 10’s Brexit posturing is dicing with disaster in Northern Ireland – The Times

A billboard along the old Belfast to Dublin road close to the Irish border in Newry, Northern Ireland, in 2019

PETER MORRISON/AP

Tim Shipman is right to say that Sinn Fein becoming the largest party in the Northern Ireland assembly does not make a referendum on a united Ireland imminent (News, last week). The decision to call a “border poll” belongs to the UK government, not the assembly. A vote must be held if a majority for unification looks likely, but we remain a long way from that.

For now the focus should be on getting Northern Ireland’s power-sharing arrangements working again. They are teetering; collapse would be disastrous.

The UK government has a vital role in relieving tensions, but it has recently been more concerned with Brexit manoeuvring. It must step up.
Alan Renwick
, professor of democratic politics, University College London constitution unit

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