TUV leader Jim Allister has said that grassroots Ulster Unionist supporters will be left uneasy by comments on the Brexit Protocol by the party’s newest recruit.
Ex-Irish senator Ian Marshall said the controversial agreement wouldn’t be scrapped.
A former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, he has joined Doug Beattie’s party and is expected to run in next May’s Assembly elections.
Mr Allister said: “To hear the latest UUP recruit, former Dublin senator Ian Marshall, proclaim ‘the protocol is here to stay’ — echoing the propaganda of the EU, Dublin Government and the anti-Brexit collective — will be music to the ears of all who want to partition the UK, promote economic unification on the island of Ireland and subject us to foreign laws and jurisdiction.
“Considering the UUP is party to an ongoing legal challenge to the iniquitous protocol, if this is a direction of travel the UUP now intends to take, then it is reprehensible.
“It is a matter for the UUP to judge what a person of such beliefs brings to their party, but I suspect many grassroots UUP members and supporters will rightly be discomforted.”
Mr Allister added: “No one should be in any doubt the protocol is in the business of dismantling the Union — with Article Six of the Act of Union already repealed.
“It is not something to be sustained, but removed in all its parts.
“Until now that has been the unified resolve of unionism. I trust that is not now changing.”
Responding to the TUV leader’s criticism, Mr Marshall said: “Brexit is done. Everyone has a responsibility to listen to genuine concerns and make this work.”
The former Irish senator revealed that he had joined the UUP in Tuesday’s Belfast Telegraph.
He pledged to help it win support among voters “turned off by the big egos and loud voices” often prominent in unionism.
He said he had been convinced to sign up to the party by Mr Beattie’s vision and leadership.
“Doug offers a revitalised, positive and progressive unionism,” he said.
Mr Marshall added: “The UUP is becoming much more inclusive and diverse than perhaps it was a few years ago.”