Journalist's tweet that British 'don't give a monkey's' about Northern Ireland riles MEP Nicholson
A senior Fleet Street figure has claimed that most people in Britain "don't give a monkey's" about Northern Ireland.
Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, added: "They think it's a strange sectarian place and feel more at home in Cork, Washington or Paris than Belfast.
"Theresa May does not share this view but she might have to come around to it to get out of this mess."
His tweet to his more than 93,000 followers on Thursday evening was retweeted around 300 times.
It has annoyed unionists, with UUP MEP Jim Nicholson describing the remarks as a "wake-up call to those who value the Union".
Mr Shipman posted his tweet in the context of the Brexit negotiations, where the border issue has proved a sticking point, with the EU accused by Brexiteers of using the issue to try to wrench Northern Ireland out of the UK. Mr Nicholson added: "Now is the time for cool heads and calm nerves.
"This is a nation that has stood together through triumphs and disasters and that has endured.
"It would be an absolute calamity beyond measure if the Brexit process was to result in the UK Government agreeing to Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK, by being left inside the EU, or subject to EU rules and regulations whilst Great Britain was not.
"In short, Brexit must not be allowed to deliver what 30 years of IRA terrorism failed to."
Mr Shipman did not respond to attempts to contact him.