Belfast Telegraph

Sammy Wilson rushes to Boris Johnson's defence after he is slammed for use of language in Commons

DUP's Sammy Wilson
DUP's Sammy Wilson
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said that Boris Johnson was "absolutely right" in the language he used in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister has been heavily criticised for describing a Bill intended to prevent the UK leaving the EU with no-deal as a "surrender act".

Mr Johnson responded to concerns around threats to MPs with "humbug" and said that the best way to honour murdered MP Jo Cox was to deliver Brexit, provoking a furious response from the opposition benches.

He has refused to apologise for his comments but acknowledged that tempers needed to cool in the Commons. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Prime Minister's use of terms like "betrayal" and "surrender" risked driving some people to "unbelievable extremes".

However, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson defended Mr Johnson yesterday, saying that the only way to "detoxify" the Commons was to deliver Brexit.

He said that Remain supporting MPs could be described as "fifth columnists", a term for a group of people working to subvert the will of the majority from within.

The veteran unionist said that the Prime Minister was right to use the term "surrender act".

Murdered MP Jo Cox
Murdered MP Jo Cox

"That's what it is, a surrender document - and the PM hit the nail on the head yesterday and also I think the fact that the Labour Party were so incandescent with rage about it, they knew that this was the kind of allegation that was going to hurt them," Mr Wilson said.

The DUP MP said that Remain MPs did not want to accept any Brexit deal as they did not want to leave the EU and that the Bill forced Mr Johnson to go "begging" to Brussels for an extension.

"He's humiliated as well. It ties his hands in the negotiations between now and the 17th of October," he said.

Mr Wilson said that the people of the UK wanted the PM to take them out of Europe but that Parliament was getting in the way.

He claimed that the EU would not want to shift in Brexit negotiations as it knew that it had allies in Parliament.

"You could call it fifth columnists in Parliament," Mr Wilson said.

Asked if he regretted the language used by MPs in Parliament on Wednesday Mr Wilson replied: "No, I don't.

"I think that the Prime Minister was absolutely right to use that language," he added.

Mr Wilson said the reason Labour MPs were complaining about the use of language is because "they know it will resonate with many of their own voters who voted to leave the EU".

"As Nigel Dodds pointed out yesterday, the way of detoxifying the situation at present is to get on with the job of delivering the referendum and then let's get back to normal parliamentary debates about the things that matter to people," the East Antrim MP said.

Earlier, the DUP backed the Conservatives as MPs rejected the Government's request for a three-day recess to coincide with the Tory Party conference in Manchester.

The division list showed 275 Conservatives, five Independents and nine DUP MPs voted for the recess motion.

It marked the seventh consecutive vote defeat in the Commons for Mr Johnson.

Mr Johnson's allies insisted the conference would go ahead unchanged, even though his keynote speech is set to clash with his regular Wednesday session of Prime Minister's Questions.

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