Sammy Wilson has rejected Peter Mandelson’s bleak assessment of life in Northern Ireland following a vote to take the UK out of the European Union.
Lord Mandelson said and EU exit would endager the peace process, encourage a possible return to violence, and threaten up to 50,000 jobs.
Mr Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, said any predictions made by Lord Mandelson “should be treated with the strongest degree of scepticism”.
Mr Wilson said: “His comments on the consequences of leaving the EU are not just spin they would be a credit to the most energetic acrobat.
“His claim that 50,000 jobs would be at risk is just plain nonsense. For any such prediction to be true every single good sold to the EU countries including the UK would have to stop being traded.”
Mr Wilson also said the Labour peer’s claim that Northern Ireland would have a “hard border with border controls etc” was wrong as travel between the UK and the RoI “is not dependent on EU membership”.
He added: “Indeed, it is as important to the RoI as it is to us and the open border at present does not cause problems of large scale illegal immigration at present.
“Mandelson played the same game when he wanted the UK to join the euro – he was wrong then, he is wrong now.”
Ukip NI leader David McNarry described Mr Mandelson’s comments as “scaremongering,” and that he was “cheerleading for a united Ireland inside the European Union”.
Mr McNarry added: “There is absolutely no evidence to back up his baseless and fictitious figures.”