EU trying to ‘undo’ gains made in Brexit says Sammy Wilson

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The Unionist politician said the application of the post-Brexit settlement in the province of Ulster shows Brussels and Dublin are doing their best to break the historic ties between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Sammy Wilson, 68, told “You cannot expect us as Unionists to stand by idly and see Europe impose laws over the head of the devolved assembly and Westminster onto Northern Ireland.”

The MP for East Antrim from the Democratic Unionist Party also claimed DUP MLAs in Stormont cannot be expected to work in cross-border institutions with Dublin when the EU’s Protocol has damaged ties between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

“Europe and the Irish Republic by implication of this are doing their damnedest to break the links between Northern Ireland and GB,” the Brexit-backing MP argued.

But it is not only cross-border posts that Mr Wilson suggested his party could remove itself from.

“If the Government does not take steps to ensure that EU law is imposed bypassing through the devolved administration in Northern Ireland then we will not be participating as ministers in that”, the DUP’s ex-Brexit spokesman said.

Outside of Stormont, Mr Wilson highlighted how Unionists politicians and community workers have worked to dissuade people from taking to the streets.

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He said: “Those who say ‘the Protocol is okay’ will point to the fact that there has been little unrest.”

“Well, that little unrest over the summer period has been due to a massive effort by Unionist politicians and community people on the ground.

Wilson added: “Eventually when people think politicians are being ineffective, the danger arises that “people will look for other routes”.

“I don’t want that.”

Despite this, Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald described the DUP’s move as a “reckless and irresponsible election stunt”.

But Mr Wilson pointed out how the DUP had opposed the Northern Ireland Protocol since it was first proposed by Theresa May.

“It’s certainly not a political stunt,” he said.

“We have been opposed to the Protocol since it was first suggested by Theresa May.”

Brussels’ Maros Sefcovic dismissed the DUP’s threat to pull out of Stormont and claimed the Protocol brought economic benefits to Ulster.

But Dr Birnie from the University of Ulster’s Business School has estimated the Protocol could cost up to £850million per year.

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Mr Wilson said the Slovak official and his colleagues had been “dismissive” of the Unionist community and their concerns.

He said: “The arrogance of Sefcovic and other EU politicians, administrators and bureaucrats who have come to Northern Ireland is really astounding.”

The East Antrim MP also told mutual enforcement is an alternative that could provide a solution.

The 68-year-old co-authored a recent report with his colleagues at the Centre for Brexit Policy that addressed how mutual enforcement would work in practice.

Fellow Ulsterman and ex-UUP First Minister, Lord David Trimble, wrote in the foreword of the report: “Mutual Enforcement respects both the integrity of the EU Single Market and the independent sovereignty of the UK voted for by the British people in the referendum in 2016.”

The Nobel Peace Prize winning architect of the Good Friday Agreement added: “It involves both the EU and the UK mutually enforcing each other’s rules, regulations, and taxes for companies exporting into each other’s territory.

“Any company operating out of NI would be required to declare that it had met all the obligations contained in EU law when selling goods to the Republic of Ireland.

“Any breach of that obligation would be followed up by the authorities in the UK and breaches would carry severe penalties as an effective disincentive to break that obligation.”

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