Ian Paisley Jr, the Northern Irish MP and son of firebrand Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) founder The Reverend Ian Paisley (Lord Bannside), has vowed there will be “no surrender” to a European Union deal which divides the United Kingdom.
Appearing at a Brexit Party rally alongside its leader Nigel Farage, the leading DUP figure thanked the veteran eurosceptic for “standing with us, for being so loyal to us… for demonstrating fidelity to our [British] Union and to the cause, and not easily letting go when things get difficult and keeping faith with the Ulster people. That goes a long way, and we say thank you, Nigel.”
Turning to the subject of Boris Johnson’s deal directly, Mr Paisley recognised Brexit “fatigue” might be pushing some Brexiteers to accepting it, but urged them to think again: “Ladies and gentlemen, any deal isn’t good enough. We need the right deal. We need a deal we can believe in, and we need the deal we voted for and the sooner we get that the better.”
“I implore those who say to us ‘just accept this deal, help us get over the line and get to the next phase’… we cannot recklessly treat the Union and leave a part of the Union behind or in a state of limbo, which is exactly what would happen in Northern Ireland [under the terms of Boris Johnson’s deal],” he claimed.
Paisley, whose Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is committed to Brexit but first and foremost to maintaining Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom — a stance which was supported by a large majority of the Province’s residents in the last referendum on the subject in 1973 — insisted that his countrymen must “leave [the European Union] on the same terms as everyone else, that we have the same customs arrangements, the same Single Market arrangements, the same VAT arrangements as the rest of the United Kingdom… those conditions have been thrown back in our teeth [by Johnson’s deal], and that’s why we so strongly object — because what is being delivered to us will change part of the Union, it will leave part of the Union behind.”
Paisley was scathing of the Conservative Party, which has relied on the DUP for a precarious House of Commons majority since the 2017 snap election, quoting Edwardian era Ulster Unionist leader Lord Carson’s “prophetic speech” on the attitude of the Tories towards using Northern Ireland to achieve its own goals while having no care for its loyal residents at length:
What a fool I was. I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into power. And of all the men in my experience that I think are the most loathsome it is those who will sell their friends for the purpose of conciliating their enemies, and, perhaps, still worse, the men who climb up a ladder into power of which even I may have been part of a humble rung, and then, when they have got into power, kick the ladder away without any concern for the pain, or injury, or mischief, or damage that they do to those who have helped them to gain power.
Adding his lament to that of Lord Carson a century earlier, Mr Paisley concluded: “100 years of history tells unionism one thing: we are not disposable. We are not kicked away so easily, we are here to stay. No surrender.”
Nigel Farage, too, expressed his regret that rather than holding a political meeting on the to celebrate Britain finally leaving the European Union, they were instead having to urge Leave voters to recognise that Brexit “will not be delivered by this sell-out from the British Prime Minister.”
“So many commentators, so many journalists today saying what a wonderful new deal it is, clearly haven’t read it,” he said.
“The Government is doing all it can to get this wretched treaty through. They are doing it because they believe it will give Boris a big short-term bounce in the polls because he can say he got Brexit done.
“But of course, at some point the country will wake up to some of the points I’ve told you tonight, and not forgive them for it.
“And I’d say to those MPs [who are] examining their consciences: don’t make the same mistake as those who went before you made with Maastricht. Stick to your principles. Know the country is behind you and tomorrow put country before party.”
The DUP will vote against the new deal when it is put to the House of Commons on October 19th.
Addressing a Brexit Party rally Ian Paisley makes a thinly veiled dig at Boris Johnson: “Which part of Unionist do you not understand?”
— Kate Devlin (@_katedevlin) October 18, 2019