DUP leader: Northern Ireland being used to 'punish the UK' for Brexit

14 September 2021, 22:53

Iain Dale quizzes Donaldson on Brexit

By Seán Hickey

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson claims EU officials have stated that Northern Ireland 'will be the price the UK pays for Brexit'.

Iain Dale was joined by DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson for an LBC exclusive phone in.

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Sir Jeffrey has expressed deep concern previously over the impact the Northern Ireland protocol is having on Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

"Your party supported Brexit – you supported Brexit," Iain pointed out. "Shouldn't you have foreseen these things?"

"The United Kingdom as a whole voted for Brexit on the basis that we were all leaving together.

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"No one suggested at that time that Northern Ireland would be treated differently," Sir Jeffrey insisted.

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"We believe that it's perfectly possible in this day and age...to design systems whereby you can differentiate between goods that are travelling into Northern Ireland and remaining within the UK internal market, and those goods travelling on to the EU, but the EU said no."

The former adviser to Enoch Powell insisted that the EU "wanted to use Northern Ireland – in the words of some senior EU officials – to punish the UK."

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He went further in his claims: "One senior EU official said, 'well, Northern Ireland will be the price the UK pays for Brexit.'"

"The EU pushed hard, supported by the Irish government and others, and the result was this Irish sea border."

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Going back to the Protocol, Sir Jeffrey insisted that it is "creating political instability" in NI.

He concluded by warning of a dire situation in Northern Ireland if there isn't a solution found.

"If we're not careful, if we can't find a solution to this problem, it has the potential actually, to so destabilise the political institutions and the relationships they represent that it could be very harmful to Northern Ireland.