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DUP prefers one-year delay over May's 'toxic Brexit deal', says Wilson as Rees-Mogg signals shift



Sammy Wilson.

Sammy Wilson.

Sammy Wilson.

DUP Brexit spokesperson Sammy Wilson has said that his party would rather see a one-year delay to Brexit than support Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal.

Writing in The Telegraph Mr Wilson said that his party would not let "the PM or the Remainer horde in Parliament to bully us into backing a toxic Brexit deal".

His comments come after European Research Group (ERG) chair Jacob Rees-Mogg indicated he may be willing to back Theresa May's deal if faced with a choice between that and no-Brexit.

It marks a split between the DUP and ERG who have been closely aligned throughout the Brexit process, with both groups opposing the controversial Irish border backstop.

The support of the DUP and the hardline Brexiteers in the ERG are seen as key for Mrs May if she wishes to get her Brexit deal through the Commons.

While some in the ERG may be beginning to waver, it appears as though the DUP position remains unchanged and they will not back Mrs May's deal during a third Meaningful Vote if it takes place later this week.

Mr Wilson said that if Brexit is postponed for a year it would give the UK a chance to "have a say on the things which affect us".

“Even if we are forced into a one-year extension, we at least would have a say on the things which affect us during that time and would have the right to unilaterally decide to leave at the end of that one-year period through the simple decision of not applying for a further extension," the East Antrim MP said.

“Surely this is a better strategy than volunteering to be locked into the prison of the withdrawal deal with the cell door key in the pocket of Michel Barnier?"

Speaking after the initial short Brexit extension was granted last week European Council President Donald Tusk said that "anything is still possible", including a longer extension.

“The fate of Brexit is in the hands of our British friends. We are prepared for the worst but hope for the best. Remember, hope dies last,” he said.

However European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the Brexit negotiations were over.

“This closes and completes the full package. There is no more that we can have,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph