Brexit: DUP will vote against any backstop, says Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson said many Brexiteers were 'surprised and annoyed' by Theresa May's speech in Belfast earlier this week
Sammy Wilson said many Brexiteers were 'surprised and annoyed' by Theresa May's speech in Belfast earlier this week
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The DUP will vote against any form of Irish backstop arrangement contained in the prime minister’s Brexit deal, Sammy Wilson has warned.

In a stark message for Theresa May, the arch-Brexiteer said that if the PM wanted to count on the backing of her DUP allies in government to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament, she must ditch the backstop entirely.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) shakes hands with European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels yesterday after Mr Tusk's remarks about a 'special place in hell' for Brexiteers

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) shakes hands with European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels yesterday after Mr Tusk's remarks about a 'special place in hell' for Brexiteers

And he said many Brexiteers had been left “surprised and annoyed” by Mrs May’s comments during a speech in Belfast this week, where she made clear that – as far as the government is concerned –there will definitely be a backstop in any deal.

While Mr Wilson is the party’s Brexit spokesperson, it is unclear whether his stance is aligned with the DUP’s official party policy on the matter.

When pressed on the matter on Tuesday, DUP leader Arlene Foster refused to say that she is still demanding the removal of the backstop.

Last month, DUP MP Jim Shannon indicated his party would be open to considering a time-limited backstop.

When asked if his party was opposed to any form of backstop – or just the arrangement as it currently stands – Mr Wilson told the News Letter yesterday: “If the PM comes back from Brussels with a backstop still part of the agreement, we will be voting against it.

“The motion she backed in the Commons last month, the Brady amendment, said she would seek to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements, not an alternative backstop.

“She will have to deliver this if she wants our support.”

Mr Wilson’s remarks came after he branded European Council president Donald Tusk a “devilish, trident wielding, euro maniac”.

His candid words were in response to Mr Tusk’s suggestion yesterday there will be a “special place in hell” for those who promoted Brexit with no plan for how to safely deliver it.