DUP: May Has ‘Torn up’ Her Brexit Promises over Northern Ireland, ‘Border Issue a Con’

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: DUP politician Sammy Wilson, who is Member of Parliament (MP) for East Antrim, speaks at the 'Leave Means Rally' at the Bournemouth International Centre on October 15, 2018 in Bournemouth, England. Leave Means Leave is a pro-Brexit campaign, holding a series of rallies and events …
Matt Cardy/Getty

Northern Irish MP Sammy Wilson has said the Prime Minister has “torn up” her Brexit promises and said the EU was using the Irish border issue to cut off the province from the rest of the UK.

The comments to Sky News Tuesday were made in response to Mr Wilson’s party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), abstaining from a key vote in the House of Commons Monday night in protest at Theresa May’s ultra-soft Brexit plan that could lock Northern Ireland in the bloc’s Customs Union.

Telling host Adam Boulton that “what we did last night was send a warning,” he said the prime minister had “torn up” her side of the bargain — which keeps the DUP in a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with May’s Conservative minority government — to take the entire United Kingdom out of the EU’s regulatory alignment after Brexit.

Brussels bureaucrats, the Republic of Ireland, and Mrs May has been negotiating over the issue of the border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and the EU member state the Republic of Ireland, with Remainer campaigners claiming that failure to secure a deal that keeps the UK in some form of regulatory alignment with the bloc will result in a so-called ‘hard border’ that could jeopardise peace on the island.

Mr Wilson called the border issue “a con,” saying: “Yesterday, the Taoiseach [Leo Varadkar] of the Irish Republic made it quite clear that even in the event of a no deal, there would be no hard border.”

“This border issue is a con. If you can have no deal and no hard border then how can you argue that in the event of any other kind of a deal there will be a hard border?”

The DUP Member of Parliament echoed the position of party leader Arlene Foster, who said Monday that the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement presents a “false choice” as a backstop is not needed to maintain a free-flowing border, calling it a “negotiating tactic by the European Union…to secure its own aims.”

Adam Boulton asked whether the DUP could simply be “bought off” with “a few scattered honours and a few billion pounds to Northern Ireland” to back the deal in Parliament, to which Mr Wilson replied:

“We fought through a terrorist campaign — 3,000 people killed in Northern Ireland — to remain part of the United Kingdom. If you think that we are going to be bought off by a few baubles in order to allow this deal to go through, we will not be.”

“The IRA terrorist campaign was designed to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom. We resisted that and will resist any deal with Brussels which is designed to do the same thing,” he added.

Unless the draft agreement is changed, the DUP party spokesman made clear that “we will vote against it” in Parliament, saying he believes in the long term, it will remove Northern Ireland from the UK and does not honour the referendum vote.

“We are a Unionist party… this is a United Kingdom referendum. People in the UK voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU and we are honouring that vote by the people.”

 

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