Brexit: Jim Allister accuses business leaders of ‘staggering dereliction of duty’

TUV leader Jim Allister has accused business leaders in Northern Ireland of a “staggering dereliction of duty” by backing Theresa May’s draft EU withdrawal plan.

Many of the Province’s key business groups have lined up to give the draft agreement a cautious welcome, a move which led DUP MP Sammy Wilson to label them as “puppets of the Northern Ireland Office”.

TUV leader Jim Allister said business leaders haven't appreciated the long-term implications of the Brexit deal

TUV leader Jim Allister said business leaders haven't appreciated the long-term implications of the Brexit deal

North Antrim MLA Mr Allister has been equally critical of business leaders for backing the accord, and yesterday warned that the backstop, if triggered, would destroy NI’s economy.

He said: “With £11.6bn of goods flowing annually from GB to NI, why do our business leaders think it is better to prioritise the £2bn which comes from the ROI and ensure for them frictionless entry at the price of a regulatory border for the far greater volume that comes from GB?

“The attempted answer that the Brexit deal gives us the best of both worlds is a lie, because it only allows frictionless trade to GB, but not from GB.

“Yet, such trade is vital to our supply chain and is what fills our supermarket shelves and for farmers what supplies most of our feedstuff ingredients, fuel and fertilisers.

“Thus the rush to embrace a crippling Irish Sea border is as absurd as it is destructive of our economy.”

Mr Allister accused those who support the deal of “failing to appreciate” the long-term implications of legally making Northern Ireland, alone within the UK, part of the EU customs territory.

He added: “This is a staggering dereliction of duty by business leaders, aided by a ‘look the other way’ approach by most business journalists who have abandoned all objectivity to clamber on board the anti-Brexit bandwagon.

“It will be too late for business to waken up when we are a semi-detached part of our all important UK single market and the free flow of goods is impeded to NI from GB and EU tariffs strangle our imports.”