A DUP Minister in charge of Northern Ireland’s economy has refused to say whether he personally backed a Brexit.
And while Economy Minister Simon Hamilton says he backed his party leader Arlene Foster’s decision for the DUP to support Leave, he said he was “surprised” at the outcome of EU referendum earlier this month.
In his first newspaper interview since taking over his new role, while Simon Hamilton said he supported the DUP’s decision to come out in favour of Brexit — the only major party here to support it — he would not answer whether he personally backed a Leave, despite being asked on several occasions.
Mr Hamilton said while his role as Economy Minister “got a lot more challenging” since the vote for Brexit, he would fight to ensure Northern Ireland’s own interests, including free movement to the Republic.
Addressing concerns from businesses and groups throughout Northern Ireland, he said:
“I completely understand the concerns that businesses have. Businesses don’t like uncertainty, and this is a period of uncertainty.
He said businesses he had spoken to had raised “long, lengthy lists of issues” about how Brexit could effect trade.
“I can understand any and all emotions,” he said.