Northern Ireland

Theresa May: Word unionist 'very important to me'

Theresa May
Image caption Theresa May said she believed in the "precious bond" between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

New Prime Minister Theresa May has said the word unionist is very important to her.

Mrs May was formally appointed as UK prime minister at Buckingham Palace where she accepted the Queen's invitation to form a new government.

Earlier, her predecessor David Cameron formally stepped down.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs May said the union of the nations of the United Kingdom was very important to her.

"Not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party and that word unionist is very important to me," she said.

"It means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"But it means something else just as important, it means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all our citizens, everyone of us, whoever we are and wherever we're from."

Earlier, the outgoing prime minister said Northern Ireland is stronger now than when he came to power six years ago.

Mr Cameron was speaking during his final Prime Minister's Question Time.

Image copyright PA

He said there were now 58,000 more people in work, inward investment was at record levels and policing and justice had been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr Cameron was asked about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland by Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan.

The prime minister said said that as the UK prepares to leave the EU, the benefits of the Common Travel Policy had to be kept.

"We do need to make sure that, as we leave the European Union, we work out how to keep the benefits of the Common Travel Area," Mr Cameron said.

"Hard work is being done now with civil servants in Northern Ireland, in Whitehall, but also in the Republic of Ireland and that work needs to quicken."

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