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People and businesses need stability more than anything, say Long and Eastwood

The people and businesses of Northern Ireland need stability more than anything else in relation to Brexit and ongoing negotiations between the UK Government and EU, Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

Mrs Long was speaking after meeting Brexit Minister Lord Frost, alongside new Alliance Brexit spokesperson, Councillor Sorcha Eastwood. Mrs Long said she welcomed the indication of a change in tone during UK-EU negotiations but more needed done to deliver the stability.

“This was a constructive meeting in which Alliance made clear to Lord Frost we have met with many people and many businesses across Northern Ireland, all of whom made clear what they need more than anything is stability – in the economy, politically, and on the streets", she said.

“It is within Lord Frost’s gift to deliver that stability during negotiations with the EU. Businesses need to know the Protocol, the basis on which they have sold into the first quarter of next year, is good for that period. Otherwise, their operating environment is completely unpredictable. Similarly businesses, both local and inward investors, will not invest in the face of uncertainty.

“Likewise, people want to know if the political institutions will be operating for the rest of this mandate, to allow MLAs to to finish the job they started, which is trying to deliver change for our society. And invariably, instability in Stormont plays out on the streets, which none of us want. I therefore stressed to Lord Frost we need to find a landing zone everyone can agree on from these negotiations, to remove the instability hanging over the Executive, the Assembly and the local economy.”

“The people of Northern Ireland have made clear that they overwhelmingly want to remain within the Single Market,” added Councillor Sorcha Eastwood.

“That may not be the view of the UK Government but it is the duty of Lord Frost and the rest of the Government to facilitate that, not frustrate it.

“I hope as a result of these meetings and the change in tone during negotiations, we can grasp the opportunity to reach the result that delivers best for Northern Ireland.”