James Brokenshire says British government is committed to Brexit joint agreement

West Belfast. Growth in the North will only be 1.4 per cent this year compared to 4.9 per cent in the Republic

West Belfast. Growth in the North will only be 1.4 per cent this year compared to 4.9 per cent in the Republic

James Brokenshire hopes this will encourage Northern Ireland parties to re-establish powersharing so their voices will be heard in Brexit negotiations.

"The advent of protectionist economic policies in the United States, the uncertainty posed by London's handling of the Brexit negotiations and the failure to form a power-sharing executive in Belfast have made this a challenging year", she said.

However Ms Foster who was speaking to Sky News said a lot more work needs to be done and this is only the first step in a long road ahead in negotiations for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

That includes preparation of a public services budget for next year.

"I don't think anyone should question or doubt the commitment of the UK Government to taking this forward, as shown in the joint report, getting that resolution, getting that agreement, and seeing that we are addressing in detail issues in relation to the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland".

The leader of the DUP Arlene Foster has said she is more than happy with the latest Brexit deal which will see no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Brokenshire said Friday was a clear statement as to how this issue will be addressed in the second phase of the negotiations.

The Tory MP said the British government wanted to secure a withdrawal agreement with legal effect.

"Yes of course this is caveated on the basis of nothing is agreed until everything is agreed but actually, the joint commitments, we want them reflected into the withdrawal agreement, we want to secure the agreement that gives the legal effect to all of this", he said.

The Irish Government branded the view "bizarre" and insisted that an agreement the United Kingdom will have "full alignment" with the European Union on issues that impact on Northern Ireland was "binding".

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