Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott has welcomed commitments made by the Government as it triggers Article 50.
Mr Elliott was commenting after the Prime Minister announced the triggering of Article 50 in a statement to the House of Commons, and on a letter sent by the Brexit Secretary to the Executive Office.
The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MP said:
“It is now welcome that Article 50 has been triggered today by the Prime Minister ending months of uncertainty. The United Kingdom will now embark on formal negotiations with the European Union, and it is vital that Northern Ireland interests are considered by the Government in those negotiations. Unfortunately at this crucial time we have no Northern Ireland Executive in place to lobby the Government as negotiations progress.
“In the Prime Minister’s statement today, she reaffirmed her commitment to ensure there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and that the Common Travel Area should be maintained. A successful resolution to this issue is crucial, particularly for those who live along the border, who often cross it on a daily basis for work or leisure. We must ensure that the border does not become subject to increased illegal activity after Brexit.
“Also welcome is the commitment to continued security cooperation with European partners. As last week’s terrorist attack has shown, we are facing constant threats from those who hate our shared values of freedom and democracy, and it is important we continue to work together to face down terrorism.
“For farmers, it is crucial that the Government puts in place an appropriate system for farm payments, so they are not worse off after we leave the EU.
“In a separate letter sent to the Executive Office, which was copied to my Party leader, the Brexit Secretary David Davis also outlined commitments particularly relevant to Northern Ireland, such as the continuation of the Belfast Agreement, including the principle of consent, cross-border security co-operation, and the all-island electricity market. It is essential that these issues are embedded within the UK negotiating position.
“Above all the Government must ensure that final Brexit deal is the right deal for everyone in the United Kingdom, and we will continue to press at Westminster to ensure this is the case.”