THE Northern Ireland Assembly has voted to withhold consent for Boris Johnson's Brexit in a unanimous vote.

Political division put Stormont on pause for three years.

Today, in the first week since a new power-sharing executive was formed, members from across the chamber have united to say no to Brexit.

The session saw repeated calls for unity in the face of a Brexit rejected by MLAs of every political stripe.

Opening the debate, Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party – whose party's support was crucial to Theresa May – urged fellow MLAs to "take a stand" to show that the Assembly is "back in business" and will "not be overruled" by the UK Government.

The House of Lords is continuing its scrutiny of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill ahead of Johnson's January 31 Brexit deadline.

Foster, the First Minister, said today's debate was "late but important" and said it would not be "the end of the matter", stating: "There are a number of important areas where we require clarity from the government."

Her Sinn Fein counterpart Michelle O'Neill, who is Deputy First Minister, went on: "We must work together with common cause to overcome the challenges that have been imposed on us by Brexit.

"This Assembly has not given its consent to the British Government to legislate on our behalf."

Former Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt rubbished May's "Brexit means Brexit" slogan, calling that as meaningless "lunch means lunch".

He took a dig at Foster's previous support for Brexit, saying she had suggested it would offer "the opportunity for ambition, innovation, flexibility and imagination" in 2016.

Nesbitt said he'd been a "prophet of doom" on the likely outcome, adding: "Three and a half years on, who was right?"

Independent MLA Claire Sugden said the debate was "too little and far too late". The East Londonderry politician went on: "We lost our opportunity to participate in the legislative consent process. We cannot formally reject the legislative consent motion. We are simply putting on record what I expect the UK government already know.

"And I expect the Prime Minister and his cabinet will treat our motion similar to how he has treated Scotland when they rejected it."

Making his maiden speech, ex-Downing Street civil servant Matthew O'Toole of the Social Democratic and Labour Party called Brexit quite simply bewildering" in its complexity and in the scope of work needed to deliver it.

Questioning the "value of the guarantees from the Prime Minister and his ministers", he said: "In many ways the reason I’m here now is because of my own frustrations the dilemma that Brexit has imposed upon our island, particularly Northern Ireland, without its consent."

Giving his take, that party's leader Colum Eastwood commented: "They do not care about people here, they don't care about people in Scotland, and they are determined to go on with the madness that is this Brexit.

"Next week we will be dragged out of the European Union against our will, against the will of people here and people in Scotland. That's why it's important that we're here, that's why it's important that we're rejecting it."