Lord Trimble was referring to comments made by Mr Martin to the BBC on Sunday morning, when he called the Tory bill – which aims to give ministers more power to suspend bits of the Protocol – “unilateralism of the worst kind”.
Specifically, Mr Martin had said: “We accept fully that there are legitimate issues around the operation of the protocol and we believe that with serious sustained negotiations between the EU and the UK government those issues could be resolved.
“[The bill] is deeply concerning to industry and businesses in Northern Ireland...
“In effect it represents a form of economic vandalism on Northern Ireland.”
Northern Ireland under the Protocol is “doing very well” under the protocol,” he said.
Lord Trimble, the one-time First Minister now a cross-bench peer, said: “I’m very sad about this. Very disappointed.
“Because I’d thought at the time that Micheal Martin was a sensible person [who you] could do business with.
“This diatribe, it’s not what one expects from him.
“He’s let himself down badly.”
But he added that “I’ve no idea what pressure might have been put to bear upon him with regard to this,” and voiced the hope that Mr Martin will “become more sensible”.
The bill itself is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons, on a date yet to be scheduled.
But yesterday ex-UUP leader Lord Empey said in the News Letter that the planned law could prove to be mere “Fool’s Gold” – in the sense that it promises much, and delivers little.