Northern Ireland

Michel Barnier pulls out of Northern Ireland visit

Michel Barnier Image copyright EPA
Image caption European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has pulled out of his Queen's University lecture

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has pulled out of plans to visit Northern Ireland.

Mr Barnier was due to speak at a lecture on Monday at Queen's University Belfast.

In a letter to the university's vice chancellor, he said that a public appearance in the UK "would not be appropriate".

He said his speech could be used by "some to undermine the chances for an orderly Brexit".

The letter was obtained by Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

"The position of the EU has always been one of utmost respect for the sovereign decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and for the red lines defined by the UK government," Mr Barnier wrote.

"My intention for next Monday was to deliver a lecture in that spirit and to reiterate my full respect for the United Kingdom.

"However, I must also be aware that my first public speech in the United Kingdom since the referendum could be used by some to undermine the chances for an orderly Brexit."

A spokesperson for Queen's University confirmed that Mr Barnier would no longer deliver the William J Clinton Leadership Lecture.

More on this story