Wilson condemns anti-Brexiteers for ‘guerilla’ warfare

DUP MP Sammy Wilson
DUP MP Sammy Wilson

Outspoken pro-Brexit MP Sammy Wilson on Thursday condemned anti-Brexit politicians for wanting to wage “ a guerilla war” against the UK’s departure from the EU.

The East Antrim DUP made the remarks in a statement issued on Thursday morning, shortly before debate got under way in the House of Commons concerning the government’s repeal bill.

Lady Hermon

Lady Hermon

Among those to speak in the debate was independent unionist MP Sylvia Hermon, who was quoted by the BBC as saying that the bill was “bad legislation”, and that she would not support it “unless it is heavily amended”.

In his morning statement, Mr Wilson (whose party entered into a pact with the Tories during the summer to help Theresa May get her bills through parliament) said “the opposition to the Great Repeal Bill [officially the ‘European Union (Withdrawal) Bill’] which starts its passage through the House of Commons today is yet another attempt by those who refuse to accept the EU referendum result to try and thwart the will of the people”.

The bill will transform EU laws into UK laws, and critics fear it could mean ministers will alter these newly-patriated bits of legislation without proper scrutiny.

Mr Wilson said: “It would be impossible to debate each of these regulations one by one on the floor of parliament without totally gumming up the system, therefore ministers have sought powers to put through the regulations without bringing them to parliament.

“The power is limited to technical amendments, eg, changing EU to UK is time limited and will involve no change in policy.”

He said “the real reason” for critics’ concerns “is their desire to conduct a guerilla war against the exit from the EU”.

Speaking on the floor of the house, Lady Hermon (representing North Down) said the suggestion had been made that “those who voted for remain, as I did, should be happy with this bill because it brings over all EU legislation”.

She continued: “Yes and no. On the stroke of midnight on exit day, we lose the general principles of EU law such as proportionality, non-discrimination, and respect for human rights.”

She suggested these were “very sound, good, valuable general principles” to lose – which Tory MP John Redwood responded to by saying those principles will “be inherited from European law through this bill”.