Northern Ireland

MLAs vote against a motion calling for NI to be granted special status within the EU

Colum Eastwood in Stormont chamber
Image caption Colum Eastwood in Stormont chamber

Stormont's assembly members have voted against a motion calling for Northern Ireland to be granted special status within the European Union.

The motion, brought by the SDLP, was defeated by a single vote with 46 MLAs supporting it and 47 against.

The SDLP had argued for NI to be given legal recognition of its unique status, as part of the UK's plans to leave the EU.

The party's leader, Colum Eastwood, said the leaders of the Northern Ireland Executive should be "kicking down the door" at Downing Street in order to make their case.

Mr Eastwood also called on unionists to reconsider their refusal to attend the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny's 'Civic Dialogue on Brexit', which is due to convene early next month.

However the DUP opposed the motion. South Belfast MLA, Christopher Stalford, told the Assembly that it made as much sense for London or County Antrim to be treated differently from the rest of the UK as it did for Northern Ireland to be exempt from Brexit.

The Ulster Unionists, whose leadership campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU, also said they did not regard special status for Northern Ireland as the best way forward.