Belfast Telegraph

Union Jack a 'flag of convenience' for parts of DUP leadership, says Lord Adonis

By Michael Sheils McNamee

A leading anti-Brexit campaigner has said the Union Jack is a "flag of convenience" for some in the DUP's leadership.

On Wednesday, Lord Adonis hit out at the party on Twitter, accusing them of not subscribing to "British values of tolerance, social freedom and inclusive democracy".

Responding to the tweet, former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Kilclooney came to the defence of the party he had "contested elections against" - saying the DUP upheld the British value of "loyalty to their nation".

The post from Lord Adonis was retweeted nearly 900 times, with more than 2,700 favourites.

The Twitter account for Irish comedy duo The Rubber Bandits also responded, writing: "That flag means colonisation and brutality. What planet do you live on?"

It is the most recent salvo in a running exchange between the Labour peer and the Northern Ireland party, with Lord Adonis last month accusing the DUP of seeking the "hardest possible Brexit" in order to create a border on the island of Ireland.

Following his comments, Lord Adonis was accused on being part of a "metropolitan elite" by former DUP MLA Nelson McCausland.

Lord Adonis has been a member of the House of Lords since 2005 and served in the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He came to greater public prominence last December after quitting as the government's infrastructure adviser over Brexit, describing Britain's withdrawal from the EU as a "dangerous populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump", and said the European Union Withdrawal Bill was the "worst legislation of my lifetime".

Since then he has been an outspoken critic of the government's Brexit policy, and advocated for a second referendum.

The DUP has been contacted for comment.

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