With the UK Parliament sovereign, and Sinn Féin’s calls for a border poll dismissed as an unwelcome distraction, quite where the “very special place” Martin McGuinness thinks Northern Ireland is in isn’t entirely clear. Nor whom he thinks he can press that “case” with in his attempt to ignore the UK-wide referendum result. He should remember, however, that neither he nor his party, alone, speak for the Northern Ireland Executive.
He should also pay very close attention to the responses the Scottish First Minister is getting in the EU about “that same case”…
…acting Spanish prime minister [Mariano Rajoy] said after a summit of EU leaders in Brussels that he wanted to be “very clear Scotland does not have the competence to negotiate with the European Union”.
He added: “Spain opposes any negotiation by anyone other than the government of United Kingdom.
“I am extremely against it, the treaties are extremely against it and I believe everyone is extremely against it. If the United Kingdom leaves… Scotland leaves.”
Spain was a vocal opponent of Scottish independence ahead of the 2014 referendum, largely because of the situation in Catalonia where there is a strong independence movement.
Meanwhile, [French President Francois Hollande] said: “The negotiations will be conducted with the United Kingdom, not with a part of the United Kingdom”. [added emphasis]
As for the other individuals Nicola Sturgeon has been getting her photograph taken with…
Ms Sturgeon met European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels, but was told by European Council president Donald Tusk that a meeting with him would not be appropriate at this time.
She also met EU Parliament president Martin Schulz, as well as Gianni Pitella, the leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, who is now an MEP.
Mr Schulz said he had “listened carefully and learned a lot”, while Mr Pitella said he was “sympathetic” to Scotland’s situation but that it was an issue to be solved within the UK.
Ahead of his meeting with Ms Sturgeon, Mr Juncker said: “Scotland won the right to be heard in Brussels so I will listen carefully to what the first minister will tell me.
“But we don’t have the intention, neither Donald Tusk nor myself, to interfere in an inner British process that is not our duty and this is not our job.” [added emphasis]