Tories accused of 'playing fast and loose' with Good Friday Agreement

24 June 2024, 16:05 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 20:13

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers have condemned the Conservative Party for the impact of Brexit on the region.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill told Sky News the current government had "played fast and loose" with the Good Friday Agreement.

Emma Little-Pengelly, of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said Northern Ireland was the victim of the Tories having "botched Brexit".

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Doug Beattie, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader, accused the "chaotic" Tory government of "destroying the cohesion of the United Kingdom".

Colum Eastwood, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said the Conservative Party had been "wrecking the place" for 14 years.

And Naomi Long, leader of the neutral Alliance Party, said the election offered the opportunity for a "reset" on relations.

In Northern Ireland, there are five main parties contesting 18 seats at Westminster: two unionist, two nationalist and one neutral.

Ms O'Neill defended Sinn Fein's policy of not taking its seats in Westminster in opposition to British rule in Northern Ireland.

"The benefit of Sinn Fein is that we are an all-island team with representation in Belfast, in Dublin, in London, in the United States and also now in Europe," she said.

"That's unique to any other party across the North."

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The DUP faces the electorate with a new leader - its former leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson having been charged with historical sex offences.

Asked if her party could be trusted given the outcome of Brexit - a border in the Irish Sea - Ms Little-Pengelly said the DUP was the only party to achieve changes to the protocol.