THE election this week of Boris Johnson as the new British Prime Minister has been greeted with fear and worry by many across Strabane.
Mr Johnson won the Conservative party leadership contest on a staunchly pro-Brexit ticket, pledging to implement Article 50 on October 31 with or without a deal with the European Union.
But the announcement that the former foreign secretary had defeated Jeremy Hunt for the top post could have serious repercussions for the border areas, according to Sinn Féin’s Michaela Boyle.
“We have watched his performance in the course of the last few weeks and months and it’s not a very impressive one by any stretch of the imagination,” she said.
“This is not a good day for the Tory party, let alone anyone else and is particularly bad for people in Ireland and the impact of Brexit on October 31.
“We can be certain that whatever decision he takes will not be good for Strabane, the district and this region.
“All the decisions that Boris Johnson has made in the past are certainly not ones which would support people who are living and working and wanting to get ahead in life.
“No matter who you talk to, people are saying he’s the worst of a bad bunch.
“He is not out in any shape or fashion to ensure that people on the ground will get the support they require in terms of Universal Credit, food banks, education and health.”
Cllr Boyle said that Derry City and Strabane District Council would now have to look very seriously at addressing the worst-case scenario in terms of Brexit.
“A lot of work has been ongoing with Donegal County Council on the implications of a no-deal and that is more important now because there are worrying times ahead.”
Similarly West Tyrone MLA, Daniel McCrossan, said the North would now face its biggest threat if Mr Johnson implements his threat of a no-deal Brexit.
“His Brexit withdrawal plan has already been rejected by the EU. He has failed before he has even begun discussion and it’s time reality overcame rhetoric for the new Prime Minister,” he said.
“Boris and the British Government cannot afford to be reckless as Brexit negotiations intensify and the deadline for an agreement draws near.
“He has referred to the backstop as a monstrosity and the border and the people of the North now face its biggest threat with him at the helm of the British Government.”