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UK needs a statesman, not a showman, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MEP has said the UK needs a “statesman, not a showman”, as Boris Johnson was elected by the Conservative Party to take over as new Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson defeated Jeremy Hunt in the leadership race. He will take over from Theresa May tomorrow (Wednesday).

“Everyone will have their own opinion on Boris Johnson and his career to date. However, it is now vital as he takes up the reins as Prime Minister, he demonstrates a level of leadership and seriousness which has been lacking to date. At such a critical juncture, we need someone who is detail focused and sensitive to the complexity of the challenges ahead. In short, we need a statesman, not a showman,” said Mrs Long.

“Boris Johnson’s road to the Conservative Party leadership has been paved with destructive half-truths, bluster and outright lies, many of which helped precipitate the crisis from which he is now personally benefitting. With an impending no deal Brexit and the stark choices facing us, we need substantive answers from him to what are incredibly serious and complex questions.

“To date he has failed to demonstrate any real understanding of the needs of Northern Ireland, particularly in the context of Brexit and especially in a no deal scenario - needs that require more than merely a ‘can do’ attitude to resolve.

“The Irish border is a delicate and nuanced issue, with resonance far beyond trading arrangements and with the potential to unpick the fabric of the Good Friday Agreement if mishandled. It is also impacting on the ability of parties to restore the political institutions here. He now needs to demonstrate his ability to act with sensitivity and impartiality in his engagements with local parties.

“It's time to cut the bluff, bluster and bombastic rhetoric, and start to provide the kind of reassurance business and civic society needs. Whilst I remain sceptical he will do that, I wish him well and will be more than happy to be proved wrong.”