Brexit: Sammy Wilson says DUP won’t be bribed on Theresa May’s ‘toxic’ deal

The DUP won’t be backing the prime minister’s “toxic” Brexit deal and the party has not been offered a financial incentive to do so, Sammy Wilson has said.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 3:31 pm
DUP MP Sammy Wilson said 'no bribes would ever be accepted' to back Theresa May's deal

The East Antrim MP was commenting as Theresa May arrived in Brussels to seek a postponement of Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline.

Speaking to reporters as she arrived for the EU summit, Mrs May said: “I’m here today to discuss with fellow leaders our request for a short extension of Article 50 to the end of June.

“This delay is a matter of personal regret to me. But a short extension would give Parliament time to make a final choice that delivers on the result of the referendum.”

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On Wednesday, the prime minister said MPs were responsible for the failure to ratify the agreement that would allow the UK to leave the EU on March 29.

The government has been involved in discussions with the DUP in the hope that the party’s 10 MPs can be encouraged to back Mrs May’s plan.

However, Mr Wilson said: “No bribes have been offered to us. No bribes would ever be accepted.”

Speaking to TalkRadio, the DUP’s Brexit spokesman said: “The issues at stake are far, far too important to simply be bought off by some fiscal promises as to what kind of money might be available to Northern Ireland.

“The fact that the chancellor was involved in the talks was not of our choosing, but was to do with some HMRC issues along the border.”

Mr Wilson went on to say: “I neither want this toxic deal nor the extension so there is no pressure on me or my party to vote for this deal, and certainly not on the basis of demands from Donald Tusk, who has shown total disrespect for the prime minister and the United Kingdom.”

Asked for his views on what will happen in the Commons next week, he said: “As someone who is proud to be a citizen of the United Kingdom, I too am angry at the way in which we have been treated disrespectfully.

“We have been humiliated, our prime minister has been humiliated by European leaders.

“It’s one of the things that makes me more determined that we’ve got to get out of this cabal in Brussels and get our own freedom.”

In a separate interview with the BBC, Mr Wilson was asked if his party would prefer a no-deal Brexit over an extension of Article 50 – the process to trigger leaving the EU – and said that was not being discussed by the DUP.

“If you say you’re going to settle for no deal, people think you’re just giving up,” he added.

“We are not and won’t until this deal comes back to the Commons and will seek to ensure the government do what it promised it would do.”