UK election poses ‘significant challenge’ to talks

A snap general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May has been described as a “significant challenge” to ongoing Stormont talks by a leading retail body.

Commenting on the surprise announcement that a UK-wide vote will take place on 8 June, Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said NI’s business community was concerned it could derail negotiations among local political parties.

Northern Irish politics stalled after a Stormont election in March, with elected parties still unable to agree terms to form a shared Government.

Cheif executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts

“The timing of this general election poses a significant challenge to the current talks on restoring devolution,” Mr Roberts said.

“Retail NI and the business community as a whole, want to see these talks reach a successful conclusion and for the Assembly and Executive to be restored.

‘Political stability is the essential basis for economic growth.”

Mr Roberts said the focus of the election should be on policy, and what type of Brexit is best for Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole.

“Setting out a new vision for the future of our local economy should be the central issue in this election for political parties, locally and nationally.”

Another local business organisation, CBI Northern Ireland, also said it was important the UK-wide vote did not impede progress at Stormont.

“It is vital the General Election does not slow efforts to form a strong, well-functioning, devolved government in Northern Ireland,” a spokesperson said.

“Political stability and economic prosperity go hand in hand, so businesses want clarity from the Government on how the General Election will impact the prospects for a swift resolution to the current political and budgetary situation at Stormont.”

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