DUP MP Sammy Wilson has refused to back down from his claim that business and farming leaders are being used as “puppets” by the Northern Ireland Office in a bid to promote Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
The party has found itself at odds with many of the Province’s key business groups, who have backed the draft withdrawal agreement.
Speaking to the News Letter last week, Mr Wilson accusing industry figures of “dancing to the government’s tune”.
Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts insisted on Monday the sector is “nobody’s puppets”.
He was part of a delegation of business leaders which met DUP leader Arlene Foster at Stormont.
When asked during an interview on BBC’s Talkback show if he would apologise for his remarks, Mr Wilson said: “No I wouldn’t have because I believe it was an apt description at the time.
“I think that sometimes you have to explain in blunt and plain language just how you see things.
“I am always prepared to apologise when it has been shown I have made a mistake or said something wrong. In this particular case I still believe this deal is bad for NI. I believe that the people who went out and gave the NI Office line were not acting in the best interest of their members.”