EU, Ireland ‘Conniving’ to Keep UK Close to Bloc to Take Money, Says Kate Hoey

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 29: Two men dressed as customs officers take part in a protest outside Stormont against Brexit and its possible effect on the north and south Irish border on March 29, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. British Prime Minister Theresa May will address the Houses of …
Charles McQuillan/Getty

Brexiteer Labour MP Kate Hoey has said that the Republic of Ireland and the European Union have overblown the Irish backstop issue and “connived” to keep the UK close to the bloc to take its money.

Defending comments she made where she said that the EU is attempting to succeed where the IRA failed in dividing Northern Ireland from Great Britain, the Ulster-born Unionist told Sophie Ridge on Sky News on Sunday, that “as Northern Ireland is left, supposedly, once this deal will go through… in the Customs Union, there is no one in Northern Ireland elected to speak for the people of Northern Ireland.

“So the country that would be speaking for Northern Ireland is the Irish Republic.”

“And ultimately, as divergence happens and Great Britain decides to go on different rules and changes things, Northern Ireland would be left behind.

And this is not acceptable because this is another way of actually driving Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom,” Ms Hoey added, echoing concerns expressed by Members of Parliament from the Unionist Northern Ireland DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) that the Withdrawal Agreement presents a threat to the Union.

“I do, genuinely, find it very dangerous. The whole idea that somehow a hard border is needed when time after time customs experts from both sides have said it is not — with goodwill.

“The goodwill hasn’t been there because the Irish government and the European Union have connived together to see this as a way of keeping the United Kingdom in as close as possible a relationship with the EU and keep taking our money.”

She added of the Government’s approach to exiting the EU, “There are no real problems that can’t be overcome. The problem is the prime minister, and the Government — many of the Cabinet — have seen Brexit not as an opportunity to the country but as a problem to be managed.

“They’ve gone from Day One to ‘let’s stay as close as possible, intertwined, keeping in the Customs Union as far as possible’ and then under this deal leaving Northern Ireland to treat Great Britain as a third country.”

On Friday at a Leave Means Leave Rally, Ms Hoey said, “We didn’t spend 30 years in Northern Ireland stopping IRA terrorists killing soldiers, police, and civilians in order to get a United Ireland, [only] to allow a few jumped-up EU bureaucrats and a complicit prime minister to try and do the same thing by the back door.”

Fellow Northern Irish Brexiteer and DUP MP Sammy Wilson said at the rally,”The Irish government and the EU Commission sat down and contrived the biggest con trick they could think of: a border in Ireland. They have created a problem that does not exist.

“So they haven’t just kissed the Blarney Stone [said to confer the power of eloquence and persuasion], they’ve made love to it.”

.