Arlene Foster, who leads the Brexit-supporting Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up Theresa May’s minority government in Parliament, has slammed Remainers for using the threat of violence in Northern Ireland as a political expedient.
“I object in the strongest possible terms to people who have limited experience of the Troubles in Northern Ireland throwing threats of violence around as some kind of bargaining chip in this negotiating process,” said Mrs Foster — a thinly veiled rebuke to former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major, who have raised the prospect of civil war in Ulster as a pretext for reversing or watering down Brexit.
“To do so is an insult to the people of Northern Ireland who worked so hard to bring peace to our country,” she added.
She also rejected any suggestion that Ulster would remain locked into the EU economically, leading to a customs border between it and the rest of the United Kingdom in the Irish Sea.
“Of the £26 billion worth of sales by Northern Ireland firms that are outside of the region, 56 per cent go to Great Britain,” she explained.
“Northern Ireland trade with Great Britain is worth nearly 4 times more than Northern Ireland exports to the Republic. 72 per cent of trade in and out of Belfast Harbour is to Great Britain and less than one fifth to the EU. Great Britain is, by far, our biggest external market.”
EU Prez Refuses to Back Down on Plot to ‘Annex’ Northern Ireland Before Crunch Meeting With May https://t.co/o8Z7r77ZEP
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 1, 2018
Mrs Foster herself is all too familiar with the violence which the Irish republicans brought on the Province — despite a referendum confirming a sizeable public majority in favour of remaining in the United Kingdom in 1973.
Her father, a policeman, was shot in the head on his small farm when she was a young girl, and she survived an IRA terror attack herself as a teenager, when the group bombed a school bus she and her classmates were travelling on.
Kate Hoey, an Ulster-born MP for London and one of the few Labour politicians still carrying the flag for euroscepticism in the party, has voiced similar sentiments, remarking that Remainer threats of civil disorder in the absence of customs-free trade between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are “insulting” and only serve to encourage “men of violence”.
— Kate Hoey (@KateHoeyMP) February 14, 2018
The EU’s insistence that the only way to retain a frictionless border in Ulster is for the bloc to effectively annex the Province and erect barriers between it and the rest of the United Kingdom appears to be pure politics, as a report commissioned by the European Parliament suggests outstanding customs issues could, in fact, be resolved through the use of technology as early as March 2019.
Star Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested that, if the EU insists on a ‘hard’ border regardless, Britain should leave it up to them to install it.