DUP peer points finger at Lords who 'want to humiliate unionists and to destroy the Union'
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Speaking during a debate in the chamber of Monday evening, the former MP for Mid-Ulster said: “Sad to say, everything they have been doing recently has led to that conclusion.
“Sad to say, also, many other people and parties within this chamber have a similar leaning. They want to humiliate unionists and they want to destroy the Union.”
He said: “Do not treat unionists as fools. We know a good deal when we see it, but we also know a bad deal when we see it. I believe the Windsor Framework is but another part of the gameplay to destroy the union.”
Lord McCrea said “sensible proposals” for a frictionless border on the island of Ireland had been rejected by the EU, and the UK Government “collapsed rather than take a stand for the unity of the United Kingdom”.
The party has been involved in negotiations with the Government about the Windsor Framework, which reformed the protocol, and is seeking further assurances, by way of legislation, over Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market.
Senior civil servants have been left in charge of devolved departments and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris had to intervene to set a budget.
Cross-bench peer Lord Kilclooney, also expressing concern over the post-Brexit trading arrangements, said he believed the Conservatives want Northern Ireland out of the UK.
He made his comments as the Tory government was urged to be honest about the impact of an revamped deal with Brussels, which critics argue retains a border in the Irish Sea.
Former Northern Ireland first minister and DUP leader Baroness Foster of Aghadrumsee said: “While some in the Conservative Government may take his view, though not all, the Irish Times poll that was published over the weekend shows a clear majority of people in Northern Ireland who want to remain within the United Kingdom. It is important that we reference that.”
Former senior judge and independent crossbencher Baroness Butler-Sloss said: “Speaking as an Englishwoman married for 64 years to an Ulsterman from County Down, I would like to stress how much English people care to keep Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.”
Former Labour MP Baroness Hoey, a Brexit supporter who sits as a non-affiliated peer, insisted the Windsor Framework “confirms the reality of the border in the Irish Sea”.
She said: “The Government should know better than to try cynically to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of the United Kingdom.
“I call on the Government to level with people, be honest, acknowledge the truth and not try to hide it in words.
“The truth is that the border remains in the Irish Sea.
“The movement of goods continues to be subject to a border experience, with both bureaucratic requirements and checks as goods leave one internal market for goods and enter another.”
Moving to reassure peers, Tory frontbencher Lord Harlech said he and his Government colleagues were “all dedicated unionists”.