It is unlikely that the Minister of Foreign Affairs would currently proclaim a poll if he were not required to do so. The British Government has traditionally seen a poll as a distraction from pressing issues of the Government and Northern Ireland society, which could undermine the proper functioning of the executive, and that it was in any case an agreed issue because there was clearly no majority in favour of change. These arguments are clearly less valid. An Alliance Party spokesman told The Detail that while the constitutional issue is not the most pressing issue for her party, she would be willing to engage in constructive dialogue through a poll. The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, signed in October 2019, contains a protocol on Northern Ireland. While the North will rightly leave the internal market, it will continue to enforce all EU customs rules, while Britain will separate. The result will be a regulatory “Irish Sea border” rather than between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and fears among Unionist politicians that Brexit will lead to a weakening of the Union.  The UK Government is currently preparing the UK Internal Market Act, which is not intended to apply certain parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, although it is recognised that such legislation is contrary to international law.  In a survey conducted by TheJournal.ie of TDs in support of a border survey and a unified Ireland in December 2016, only TDs of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (now Solidarity) stated that they currently opposed a united Ireland.  The success of reunification is widely supported if the British people play a constructive role in this process. The British government could make a clear political statement that Brexit is a reaffirmation of Britain`s national sovereignty, the full realization of which requires the end of the Union with Northern Ireland. And it could be a truly internationalist statement that explains that the sovereignty of each takes advantage of the sovereignty of the other.
Such a statement will make it clear to the Unionists that the British people have finally recognised the true territorial limits of the authority of our political union. All interested parties could then develop a clear transition proposal prior to an investigation.  The long common travel area with Ireland should be maintained, so that the few unionists from the North who really could not conform to the idea of living in a united Ireland would be welcome to live in Britain if they wanted to. Britain should also offer full cooperation with the Republic to suppress any violence by loyalist paramilitaries. Northern Ireland companies that currently “export” goods to the rest of the UK could be offered special status if wider free trade negotiations with the EU are not successful. And a generous, time-limited programme of British financial aid for the considerable costs of the reunification process could be developed. In 1973, the British government in Northern Ireland launched a poll on whether to remain in the Union or join a unified Ireland. The poll was the subject of a nationalist boycott: 98.9% of voters, 57.5% of voters, voted for the Union. Others have suggested that a majority of Northern Ireland Assembly members belonging to nationalist parties or a majority voting in favour of a border poll in the Assembly could be sufficiently triggering. These methods would likely be controversial and the lack of a specific mechanism for determining public opinion could be a subject of criticism.
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