NI Conservatives’ spokeswoman, Lesley Macaulay, has warned the DUP not to back Sinn Féin’s call for a border poll, after Arlene Foster told the BBC that the party might consider adopting that policy.
“I think the DUP is very unwise to entertain Gerry Adams’ suggestion for a vote to be called on Northern Ireland’s constitutional position, at the current time”, Lesley emphasised. “It has rarely been clearer that voters have no appetite for a united Ireland. Poll after poll shows growing support for our place within the United Kingdom, across the whole community.”
“We also have stark evidence of a society which is still divided along sectarian lines and on no account should the DUP assist with Sinn Féin’s plan to polarise Northern Ireland further by calling for a referendum about the border. It would be an appalling time to play on people’s insecurities, concentrate on constitutional matters rather than everyday issues and conduct an expensive, divisive campaign.”
“If there were a serious question mark over the border, nationalists would be entitled to ask for a referendum and the Secretary of State would be required to consider calling one. However, at the moment pro-Union parties need to prioritise reassuring people that there is no serious challenge to our place in the UK and looking at how we can create a shared future for everyone in Northern Ireland. The result of a border poll would be a formality, but a referendum would also be a pointless, polarising distraction, which could only damage community relations here.”