‘Irish attempting to thwart Brexit’: Wilson

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson meets with Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney at Iveagh House in Dublin.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson meets with Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney at Iveagh House in Dublin.

The Irish government is “attempting to thwart” the UK’s exit from the European Union, Sammy Wilson has said.

The DUP MP was commenting after foreign minister Boris Johnston met his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney in Dublin yesterday.

Following the meeting, Mr Wilson said the Irish administration had a clear objective to “keep the UK chained to the EU” until after the next UK general election in the hope that “Corbyn’s Brexit-breaking MPs might be in power”.

Mr Wilson said: “It is clear now that the Irish government are fully signed up with the European establishment to thwart the referendum result in the United Kingdom to leave the EU. Firstly, the Irish government are trying to block the UK moving on to substantive negotiations about leaving the EU and then suggesting that an interim or transitional period of five years is going to be needed before we can leave.”

The East Antrim MP added: “The people of Northern Ireland have been used to the Irish government interfering in our affairs for a long time. Now it seems that the current Irish administration can interfere in the affairs of the UK as a whole. We will support a leaving date being included in the European Withdrawal Bill so that deal or no deal, the UK will exit the EU in March 2019.

Boris Johnston left yesterday’s meeting insisting there was no desire for a return to a hard border of the past. However, Mr Coveney warned it was impossible to avoid some form of “border infrastructure” if – as PM Theresa May has said – the UK is to leave the customs union and the single market.

“We simply don’t see how we can avoid border infrastructure, whether it’s on the border or somewhere else on the island if we have regulatory divergence in Northern Ireland versus the rest of the island,” he told a joint news conference with Mr Johnson.

“When you have a different rule book applied to trade and business, well then, you are starting to go down the road of having to have checks and inspections.”

Mr Johnson however argued the border issue could only be resolved in the context of the wider negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

“The issues of the Northern Irish border and how it works are intellectually intimately bound up with the questions of the customs union, the single market and Britain’s relationship with those,” he said.

Meanwhile, ahead of his talks with Mrs May, Irish premier Leo Varadkar said: “It’s 18 months since the [Brexit] referendum, it’s 10 years since people who wanted a referendum started agitating for one. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like they have thought all this through.”