Northern Ireland Faces Second Vote in Six Months

Photo: Getty Images [via Financial Times]

The Facts

  • Following a failed meeting between Northern Irish (NI) political parties on Thursday, the NI secretary is set to call an assembly election. Politicians have failed to form a devolved government amid a boycott by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

  • This comes six months after the party first refused to form a government with Sinn Féin — a nationalist party that achieved a historic victory when it won the largest number of seats in the Stormont (NI parliament) election.

The Spin

Narrative A

Sunak's appointment is good news for the Northern Ireland protocol. Having been appointed a leader to clear up the economic mess left by Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister will likely seek positive diplomatic relations with the EU and a rapid resolution to issues of trade across the Northern Ireland border. Hopefully, his approach will offer hope to the DUP and accelerate a return to normality in Northern Ireland's devolved government.

Narrative B

Westminster has been pandering to Sinn Féin and the EU at the cost of the union of the United Kingdom itself. The next few months will be Sunak's greatest challenge — he should take the proper course and end the application of EU law and accompanying jurisdiction of the European Court in Britain, which has already voted to leave the bloc. The new PM must protect Northern Ireland's constitutional sovereignty over the short-term goal of restoring power-sharing in Stormont.

Nerd narrative

There is a 41% chance that Northern Ireland will hold a reunification referendum before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Articles on this story

Sign up to our daily newsletter