Eastwood: “we will not betray the people of Northern Ireland by standing idly by…”

This is an interesting line from Colum Eastwood…

The imperative now is not only to consult with the British Parliament but with the devolved administrations in Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff. The people of Northern Ireland have not consented to leaving the European Union and we will not betray them by standing idly by.

Despite 56% of people here voting to remain, we may be in a position in Westminster where only three of our MPs in the North vote to reflect their will. While the Irish Government stands up for the North in Europe, the SDLP will stand up for the North in Westminster, and we’ll stand alone if necessary.

It’s on foot of the legal decision in London today, by a very senior bench in the High Court. It’s being given a political status that I’m not sure it actually deserves, since Labour is highly unlikely to use parliamentary procedure to strike it down, for reasons outlined by Brian this morning.

Martin McGuinness waved aside the idea that his absentee parliamentary troops would make any difference to the arithmetic, predicting that Parliament would count in any free vote.

To be clear, I suspect the dFM is right in that regard. Nevertheless, Eastwood is beginning to work more explicitly on position and actual narrative rather than just reacting to each development as it comes up.

As an opposition leader he no longer has to win every point, he just has to make trouble enough for his opponents to put them off their customary game.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty