LONDON ( Associated Press) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will travel to Northern Ireland on Monday to try to end a political deadlock preventing the formation of a regional government.
The visit will come amid threats from the Johnson government to rip up the Brexit deal with the European Union, which it blames for the crisis.
Voters in Northern Ireland elected a new Assembly this month, in an election in which the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein won the most seats. It was the first time that a party that seeks the union of that territory – one of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom – with the Republic of Ireland wins an election in the bastion of Protestant unionist power.
The Democratic Unionist Party came second and refuses to form a government, or even allow the assembly to meet, until the Johnson government removes post-Brexit controls on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest. From United Kingdom.
Under power-sharing rules established as part of the Northern Ireland peace process, a government cannot be formed without the cooperation of the nationalist and unionist parties.
Johnson will urge political leaders in Belfast to get back to their jobs and deal with basic issues such as the rising cost of living, his office said on Sunday. He warned that he too would accuse the EU of refusing to give ground on post-Brexit border controls and would warn Britain would have a “need to act” unless the bloc changes its position.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a border with the EU. When Britain left the bloc in 2020, it was agreed to keep Ireland’s land border free of customs posts and other controls, because an open border is a key pillar of the peace process that ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland. Instead, there are controls on some products, such as meat and eggs, coming into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.