Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Sammy Wilson backs Boris Johnson over his Brexit 'suicide vest' remark

By Staff Reporter

Sammy Wilson last night backed former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over his shocking claim that Theresa May's Brexit strategy had put the UK "in a suicide vest" and handed the detonator to Brussels.

Carrying on with the terrorism analogy, the DUP Brexit spokesman called on Dominic Raab, the Brexit Minister, to act as a "bomb disposal officer" to ensure the future of the UK.

Henley MP Mr Johnson had also slammed the Government's position on the EU's Irish backstop proposals.

Under the EU's version of the plan, if no trade deal with the UK resolved the issue, Northern Ireland would effectively remain part of the single market.

Mr Johnson said: "We have opened ourselves to perpetual political blackmail.

"We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution - and handed the detonator to Michel Barnier.

"We have given him a jemmy with which Brussels can choose - at any time - to crack apart the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland."

While the incendiary comments attracted criticism from other Tories, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said last night he wished Mr Johnson had spoken out sooner.

Describing the EU's Irish backstop plan as a "timebomb", Mr Wilson said: "Boris Johnston is saying nothing that the DUP has not been saying since the withdrawal agreement was first drafted in December 2017.

"In fact we wish he had said this sooner.

"While the time bomb still exists because of the foolish acceptance which the Government has given to the claim that the Irish border presents a problem when it comes to striking a free trade deal with the EU, all of the work which has been done makes it more difficult for Brussels to detonate it.

"The Brexit Minister must assume the role of the Government's political bomb disposal officer protecting the UK from the efforts of the bullies in Brussels to blow apart the Union or blast the result of the peoples' choice in the referendum to break the bands of EU bondage."

Tory MP and ex-Army officer Tom Tugendhat was unimpressed by Mr Johnson's remarks.

"A suicide bomber murdered many in the courtyard of my office in Helmand," he said.

"Comparing the Prime Minister to that isn't funny."

Government minister Sir Alan Duncan, who was Mr Johnson's former deputy at the Foreign Office, said: "For Boris to say that the Prime Minister's view is like that of a suicide bomber is too much.

"This marks one of the most disgusting moments in modern British politics."

Sinn Fein spokesman Mairtin O Muilleoir described Mr Johnson's attack on the Government as "appalling, foolish and dangerous", and risked destroying the progress achieved in Northern Ireland over the past 20 years.

"His remarks unveil the real agenda of the Brexiteers which is to tear up the Good Friday Agreement regardless of the consequences for the community in the north," the South Belfast MLA said.

"He is foolish if he thinks the EU 27 will turn their backs on the Irish peace process which they rightly regard as a crowning achievement of the European Union."

Belfast Telegraph

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