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Watch: Ian Paisley 'no surrender' rallying call to government for Brexit talks

Mantra belongs in the past, says MLA

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

The UK Government was told to take a "no surrender" attitude to the Brexit talks by a DUP MP.

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Ian Paisley accused the EU of trying to blackmail and bully the British Government as he asked an impassioned question in the Commons.

During Northern Ireland questions, ministers were pressed on their commitment to the border in Ireland.

"It's about time the government demonstrated a no surrender attitude to the EU bureaucrats, who try to blackmail us, bully us, over air flights, passenger duty and everything else," he said.

"Stand up to them man, and stand up to the EU and let's get on with leaving the EU."

In response he was told the government was committed to getting the best deal for all the UK.

The North Antrim MP's comments echoed those of fellow DUP MP Sammy Wilson, who tweeted the sentiment earlier on Wednesday.

The SDLP's Claire Hanna described the DUP attitude to Brexit as "irresponsible, illogical and insulting".

"This is a typical headline grabbing stunt by Ian Paisley, seeking only to move the spotlight that is firmly on restoring talks here in Northern Ireland back onto him and his colleagues in London," she said.

"If the DUP MPs still can’t get their heads around the grave and far-reaching challenges posed by Brexit, I’d be happy to help them formulate a few questions to put to their pals in the Tory Party.

“People here are deeply frustrated and worried about their futures, particularly the business community yet the DUP at every opportunity fail to squeeze any clarity out of the British Government."

The South Belfast MLA added: “The unionist mantra of 'no surrender' belongs in the past. For a party that professes to want to restore power-sharing here, this language is sending the opposite signal."

Talks are continuing on the finer details in the second phase of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU over its departure from the bloc.

The Prime Minister's inner “war cabinet” of senior ministers was to meet on Wednesday to chart a course through some of the most difficult issues in the Brexit process.

Earlier it emerged the EU wants to put in place a method to rapidly curtail the UK’s single market benefits if it breaches agreements on a transition deal.

There have been reports the EU would be able to "punish" the UK during the two-year transition phase after March 2019.

Whitehall attempted to play down the significance of a draft text, insisting it would form the basis for a negotiation on the terms of a transitional deal.

"The blackmailing burghers from Brussels and the cheap political opportunists in Dublin must meet a tough UK Government response," tweeted Sammy Wilson.

"In these negotiations, if the gloves are off, it is time we went into the fray with a no surrender attitude."

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