DUP's Sammy Wilson calls UK government ‘spineless’ and ‘Brexit-betraying’

Dup's Sammy Wilson Calls Uk Government ‘Spineless’ And ‘Brexit-Betraying’
Sammy Wilson, DUP MP for East Antrim, was less than impressed with deal agreed with the British government. Photo: PA
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By Richard Wheeler, Rhiannon James and Ben Hatton, PA

The UK government was branded “spineless” and “Brexit-betraying” after it unveiled what it hailed as the “right” deal to restore powersharing at Stormont.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said EU law alignment would no longer automatically apply under the British government’s plans, adding legislation will be passed to reaffirm Northern Ireland’s constitutional status.


He praised DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson for his commitment and work during the negotiations, telling MPs in London: “The result, as I hope honourable members will agree, is a deal that, taken as a whole, is the right one for Northern Ireland and for the union.

“With this package it is now time for elected representatives in Northern Ireland to come together, to end the two years of impasse and start work again in the interests of the people that elected them.”



Mr Heaton-Harris added: “It is time to build on the progress of the last 25 years.

“Today we have presented a plan which will deliver the long-term change that Northern Ireland needs. It will strengthen Northern Ireland’s place in our union and guarantee the free flow of goods across the entire United Kingdom.

“It’s only by sticking to this plan that we will become a more united and prosperous country together.”


DUP deputy leader Gavin Robinson said: “We have turned the impossible into the possible.”

But Sammy Wilson, DUP MP for East Antrim, was less than impressed as he said: “When the Northern Ireland assembly sits, ministers and assembly members will be expected by law to adhere to and implement laws which are made in Brussels, which they had no say over and no ability to amend, and no ability to stop.

“This is a result of this spineless, weak-kneed, Brexit-betraying government, refusing to take on the EU and its interference in Northern Ireland.”

He added: “Is Northern Ireland going to find it’s got the ability to stay tied to the United Kingdom, or will the government proceed happily to change laws here regardless of the impact it has on Northern Ireland?”


Mr Heaton-Harris replied: “On the fourth anniversary of leaving the European Union, I can tell him absolutely that this agreed package of measures will not change the freedoms and powers we have secured through Brexit or through the Windsor Framework.

Stormont Assembly
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris speaks to the media in College Green, Westminster (Victoria Jones/PA)

“It will not reduce our ability to diverge nor our commitment to do so should it be in the interest of the United Kingdom.”


SDLP leader Colum Eastwood described it as a “very good day for the people of Northern Ireland” before suggesting the UK and Irish governments, along with the political parties, should look at how to reform the Good Friday Agreement institutions to “make sure no one party can ever pull them down again”.

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