'Future Labour Government would stand by implementation of Windsor Framework' - Hilary Benn

The Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Hilary Benn has said any future Labour government would stand by the implementation of the Windsor Framework and would not seek to renegotiate it.

Attending a Movement for Europe fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Mr Benn was asked if the DUP should wait for a possible future Labour government to get the fixes it wants before returning to Stormont.

Hilary Benn said: “The DUP takes its own decisions about what it's going to do. But I've been clear that the Windsor framework is being implemented.

"We support its implementation, so it's not as if that's going to change.

"Everyone recognizes that the Windsor Framework is not going to be renegotiated. It is here. We've got to apply it sensibly and sensitively.

He continued: “And overtime, the European Union, when it sees it working, then I think there's the possibility of further discussion about how the rules apply because this is about winning trust." 

The DUP remains in negotiations with the Government on proposals to ease the party’s concerns around the Windsor Framework and its view that it implements a border in the Irish Sea.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said ‘gaps remain’ between his party and the Government.

In Liverpool, Hilary Benn said he "wished those discussions every success" but repeated that he was "slightly surprised" the DUP did not take the Windsor Framework as a "win" when it was signed by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the EU in February.

Hilary Benn was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State to Northern Ireland by Sir Keir Starmer last month. 

Mr Benn spent two days in Belfast last week meeting the political parties as well as victims groups about the Legacy Act. 

Mr Benn was also asked his view on comments made by his party leader Sir Keir Starmer last week that a "border poll was not even on the horizon". 

“I think it is reality," said Mr Benn.

"The circumstances in which a border poll may be held are set down very clearly in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

"Everyone's read it, everyone knows what it says. But the priority in Northern Ireland at the moment is not that. It is getting the government back up and running.”

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