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The Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Michelle Gildernew, has used her trip to London this week to lambaste Prime Minister Theresa May as a “messer-upper” and to accuse Secretary of State James Brokenshire of not being an “honest broker” in the Northern Ireland power-sharing talks.

Ms. Gildernew was elected as MP in the early hours of Friday morning and, on Tuesday, she and the six other newly-elected Sinn Féin MPS flew to London for a series of meetings.

The abstentionist MPs will not take their seats in Westminster, nor will they receive a salary.

Their visit coincided with Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster’s meeting with Theresa May to discuss a deal that would prop up the Conservative Government.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter from London, Ms. Gildernew said: “Sinn Féin MPs travel to London every week for meetings with the British government, a range of political parties, trade unions, embassies, the Irish diaspora and many others promoting our platform of rights, equality and Irish unity as they represent constituents.”

In an interview with Channel 4 news outside Westminster on Tuesday evening, she voiced her “concern” about the Conservative -DUP deal and claimed it could damage powersharing talks in Northern Ireland, which has been without an executive since March and without a first and deputy first minister since January.

 

 

 

 

 

“Very much of what happens here in London has very little to do with my constituents,” Ms. Gildernew said. “The DUP-Conservative alliance has an awful lot to do with it so we are very concerned about the DUP policies and what that will mean, or what promises Theresa May is having extracted from her by Arlene Foster,” she said.

The Sinn Féin delegation met with Secretary of State James Brokenshire and told him they did not believe he could be an “honest broker” in the ongoing talks to form an Executive in Northern Ireland, while his party is doing a deal with the DUP.

Asked by Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow if Sinn Féin will mount a legal challenge against the DUP-Conservative deal because the Good Friday Agreement states the UK and Irish governments must demonstrate “rigorous impartiality”, Ms. Gildernew replied: “Of course the government is favouring them (the DUP). The British government are co-guarantors, along with the Irish government, of the Good Friday Agreement. They cannot be honest brokers, they cannot be neutral if they are in an arrangement. I’m sure people are looking at the legal ramifications of that.”

In response to Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, who said that James Brokenshire has a “quasi-judicial” duties as Secretary of State to Northern Ireland, which he can carry out “very carefully” alongside his role as “a political player”, Ms. Gildernew replied: “But how can James Brokenbshire be a neutral arbitrator in talks that have to happen this week between Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Foster if his government are in an arrangement here in London?”

She told this newspaper: “The people came out in huge numbers to endorse our message of equality, rights and Irish unity and to send a clear message to Theresa May and her DUP allies that they do not want Brexit, they do not want borders and that they want Irish unity. I will represent everyone in this constituency equally, regardless of who they voted for.”

Ms. Gildernew will reiterate Sinn Féin’s call for their MPs to be granted speaking rights in the Dáil when they meet with the Irish government on Friday. This is despite new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar describing the party as “the greatest threat to our democracy.”

Concluding her TV interview, Ms. Gildernew said: “Theresa May ... is dragging us out of the EU kicking and screaming so she is a messer-upper. She never once considered the impact a European boundary would have on my constituency.”