Boris Johnson has dismissed the Prime Minister’s suggestion that there was a risk to the very future of the UK from Brexit.
During his visit to Co Antrim at the weekend David Cameron told this newspaper that keeping the UK together was one of the reasons to vote to remain in the EU.
The News Letter put these fears to the Mayor of London on Monday after he toured Boomer Industries Ltd in Lisburn.
He said: “I don’t agree with that at all. Because I think that actually the Scots had a vote last year which was very clear, it was decisive.
“That was a once in a generation vote, there was no doubt at all about the result, and I think that will abide.
“And I think this is a wholly separate thing that the United Kingdom will vote.”
The Secretary of State Theresa Villiers was also asked about the risk of inflamed nationalist feeling post a Brexit.
She said: “I think with Scotland they have had their referendum. There was a clear vote to stay in the United Kingdom.
“Both sides, both the Scottish government and the UK government, were very clear that they would respect the result of that referendum, so the Scotland question is settled.”
Ms Villiers, a supporter of Britain leaving Europe, added: “The EU question should be taken on its own merits.”
Asked specifically about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland’s place within the UK she said that the Province “like the rest of the UK would benefit significantly if the UK left the European Union because we’d actually get to make our own laws and control our own immigration”.
She added: “Businesses like Boomers would find it easier to export because Britain would be able to make its own trade deals which at the moment it can’t.”
Pressed about the risk to the Union from separatists in the event of the UK quitting the EU, she said: “I am convinced that in the case of a Brexit we would still have warm and strong and friendly relationships with the Republic of Ireland.
“The relations between the UK and Ireland have arguably never been better.”
Local DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who was also present, was similarly unconcerned at this prospect.
“We don’t buy the scaremongering of the Scottish nationalists or anyone else that Brexit could lead to the break up of the UK,” he told the News Letter.