Wilson is right to float the idea of a delay to Brexit

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The comments by Sammy Wilson on delay to Brexit is a notable shift by the party — if indeed his thinking represents DUP thinking on the matter.

It would seem likely that it does represent DUP thinking, because the party does not usually let splits into the spotlight among its most senior members.

Mr Wilson has traditionally been one of the DUP’s most hardline voices on Brexit, but then it is also important to note that he does speak for the party on the matter.

If the DUP is now thinking of an extension, it has good reason to do so.

A delay is being backed by Brexiteers such as Dan Hannan MEP, who says that a delay is preferable to a bad deal for the UK.

Mr Hannan in fact is one of the eurosceptics who thinks that the Withdrawal Agreement is a very bad deal indeed.

He was implicitly critical of the DUP recently for considering supporting the deal, particularly if they were seeking financial reward, which he said no unionist party ought to be able to support.

But while the DUP might be thinking of delay, if Mr Wilson’s article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday is a guide, other senior Brexiteers are moving towards supporting the prime minister’s deal.

In a remarkable development, one of its sharpest critics, Jacob Rees-Mogg has indicated that he would support it because a bad deal is better than no Brexit.

This is significant because Mr Rees-Mogg was only days ago saying that DUP backing would help secure his own support for the deal. Now he seems to be prepared to support it of its own accord.

Today we will have a clearer idea of what MPs want.

It might well be a solution that would less desirable than the delay that Mr Wilson is right to at least consider.