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  1. ITV Report

Sinn Féin accuses PM of ‘running down the clock’ on Brexit

Sinn Féin has accused the Prime Minister of running down the clock on Brexit and called for a border poll in the event of a no deal scenario.

Theresa May met the main Northern Ireland political parties on Wednesday, the day after she made a speech in Belfast in which she reiterated her commitment to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland was “unshakeable”.

However after her party's meeting with Mrs May, Sinn Féin leader Mary-Lou McDonald accused the British government’s position as one of “hostility to Irish interests”.

“The British Prime Minister has come here empty-handed with the same old rhetoric, with no plan, no credibility and frankly no honour,” she told the press afterwards at Stormont.

“We have told her that the British strategy of running down the clock and playing a game of chicken with Ireland and Irish interests is profoundly unacceptable and wrong. We have told her that the days of Britain dictating to Ireland or Irish people, that those days are over and will not return.”

We have told her that the backstop is the bottom line, the bare minimum requirements to meet Irish interests to protect the Good Friday Agreement to prevent a hardening of the border.

– Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin

Mrs McDonald added that in the event of a “Tory crash” there should be a referendum on Irish unity.

The DUP have urged Mrs May to stand strong in her negotiations with Europe in bringing the case to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements.

Party leader Arlene Foster said: “We reiterated again that the backstop was the problem in relation to the withdrawal agreement and the Brady amendment put down in the House of Commons last week gives her the mandate now to go to Brussels as she intends to do on Thursday and we look forward to hearing the outcome of that.”

However European Council President Donald Tusk had strong words for those behind promoting the UK’s departure from the EU as he met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels. In a joint press conference, Mr Tusk said the EU was not making "any new offer" to Mrs May on the Brexit deal.

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