Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that the British Government’s ‘Review of Union Capability’ represents a clear acknowledgement that a debate about the future of these islands is happening in earnest.
The Foyle MP said that he opposes much of what is contained in the report, and particularly those recommendations that create further potential to undermine devolution, but that the discussion about a new future for people across these islands should be a broad debate and that is enhanced by unionist thought.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“The Dunlop review has a number of serious flaws, not least of all that the report was completed more than a year ago and therefore fails to address the increasingly fractious relationship between the British Government and the devolved administrations. It also appears to give further license to London Ministers to take decisions on matters and projects that are clearly in the devolved space while simultaneously suggesting a revolution in Whitehall thinking to respect devolution. That tension is irreconcilable.
“What I welcome, however, is that this report is a clear acknowledgement from the British Government that there is a live debate about the future of these islands and how people could be better served in new constitutional arrangements. No one has anything to fear from that debate. It should be broad and bold, and at the end we will all have an opportunity to convince people of our own visions for the future. That is a cornerstone of the SDLP’s progressive nationalism.
“In the coming weeks the SDLP will give further shape to our plans to engage with people across the island through our New Ireland Commission. And I remain clear - any future that doesn’t include our unionist friends and neighbours isn’t one worth having. So we will continue to reach out to those from other traditions because the best possible future is one we all build together.”