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Why did you not resist? DUP’s Sammy Wilson rage at Edwin Poots over NI Protocol revealed

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Sammy Wilson vented his frustrations at his party colleague.

Sammy Wilson vented his frustrations at his party colleague.

Sammy Wilson vented his frustrations at his party colleague.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson’s rage over the Agriculture minister and party colleague Edwin Poots’ handling of the NI Protocol has been revealed through the disclosure of a private letter. 

The East Antrim MP was critical of the minister’s approach to pet checks within the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In the letter, revealed by BBC Northern Ireland following a freedom of information request, Mr Wilson questioned why Edwin Poots had not “resisted the views of his officials” around the protocol.

Sent in May just days before Edwin Poots became leader of the DUP, Mr Wilson also described himself as “astounded and appalled” by the response he received from the former leader and accused him of being willing to “meekly bow” to the protocol.

It is understood the letter was sent over the issue of Brexit checks on pets travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland as a result of the NI Protocol.

It was in response to earlier correspondence from the agriculture minister, in which he set out the new restrictions around the movement of pets.

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The Northern Ireland Protocol is a section of the Brexit deal designed to avoid border checks on the island of Ireland.

Checks on pets had been due to begin in July, but was unilaterally extended by the UK until at least October.

In his letter, Mr Wilson questioned Mr Poots on why he had not "resisted the views of his officials" around the protocol and accused officials in the agriculture department of being "more intent on implementing the protocol" than recognising the "grave harm" it caused.

It is believed the letter was sent just weeks before Edwin Poots acted to delay checks until October.

"I am surprised that you are permitting discussions to go on within your department to look at how this part of the protocol could be implemented when your party's position is that there should be no implementation of the protocol and indeed it should be replaced,” wrote Sammy Wilson.

"I trust that you will reconsider the answer which you have given to me and give some hope to those who are looking for political leadership to destroy this protocol rather than meekly bow to the unreasonable demands which it makes."

Mr Wilson also added he was surprised Edwin Poots had "accepted the erroneous advice from your officials".

The East Antrim MP also said he believed the checks on dogs moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland were unnecessary and added: "I am astounded that the remedies which are open to you are not being pursued."

The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs has been approached for comment.

In a statement, the DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: "The issue raised in relation to pet travel was resolved. This is one of many issues that have been challenged by DAERA and other Departments in Northern Ireland. Significant evidence about the unsustainable and unworkable nature of the Protocol has been highlighted to HM Government as a result of such cases.

“The recent command paper is a welcome first step by the Government which has demonstrated that the problems of the Protocol are now recognised. There now needs to be action to remove the border in the Irish Sea which damages the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

“Efforts should be united now in pressing both HM Government and the European Union to undo the damage caused by the Protocol."


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