Belfast Telegraph

If you stand up to the Irish, they'll take you seriously: Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson

The DUP's Sammy Wilson has said he will advise the Conservative leadership candidates that they should stand up to the Dublin government during the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's position on how Brexit should be negotiated isn't shared unanimously in the Republic.

"There are many people in the Republic that are now thinking that Ireland has overstretched itself, overstated its case and that stance could damage the Irish econonmy. I think that will put immense pressure on Leo Varadkar to have a different attitude," he said.

"During my time in the Northern Ireland Executive and in the period since the Belfast Agreement, we've had to negotiate with Dublin time and time again. The one thing we do know is that once Dublin knows you mean what you say and say what you mean, I think that you sometimes find they have a different attitude.

"What we'll be saying to both candidates is look, we know the Irish. If you vacillate, they'll push you around. If you stand up to them, they'll start to take you seriously."

The Brexit spokesperson said his party is happy with what they've heard so far from the Conservative leadership candidates Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson.

They will both attend the latest leadership hustings on Tuesday in Belfast.

"They have said the current agreement is not going to work, they have both said they're committed to the union and thirdly they're both saying we'll leave on the 31st of October," said Wilson.

"I think that's important to send out to the EU negotiators that they days of ambivalence and ambiguous deadlines, etc are over, and they've got to get serious."

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