Former PMs “undermining the integrity of the UK’: Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister. Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEyeTUV leader Jim Allister. Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye
TUV leader Jim Allister. Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Sir John Major and Tony Blair have been accused of promoting “subjugation to Brussels” and the “break-up of the UK,” by TUV leader Jim Allister.

The two former prime ministers, who are urging MPs to reject new Brexit legislation drafted by the UK Government, have been described by Mr Allister as “combining to protect the EU’s achievements in the Withdrawal Agreement, at the expense of the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

Mr Allister said: “These are men infamous for mendacity. Blair with his ‘dodgy dossier’, taking us into war, and Major secretly negotiating with the IRA while proclaiming such would ‘turn his stomach’.

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“Both now join to peddle the big Belfast Agreement lie. The Belfast Agreement says nothing adverse to checks on goods at the border. It gives no such guarantee, but what it does purport to guarantee, namely, acceptance of Northern Ireland as an integral part of the UK is the very thing Blair and Major are wanting to trash”.

Unionists have expressed concerns that the efforts to avoid a hard border on the Island of Ireland will create a significant divide between Northern Ireland and GB.

UUP leader Steve Aiken accused those “ignoring the anti-Belfast Agreement reality of an Irish Sea border” of “self-serving hypocrisy”.

Mr Aiken said: “The publication of the UK Internal Market Bill is a very poor attempt to repair the damage created by the badly drafted and discriminatory NI Protocol and the Withdrawal Agreement.

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“With less than a few months to go, the fact that the people of Northern Ireland have no idea of the impact on businesses, the extra cost that may be imposed on consumers or the very real and significant challenges created by having to accept ECJ rulings over those of our own courts, should be galvanising all political parties in Northern Ireland to call on both the EU and the London government to sort these problems out.

“That a spectrum of those, including the Irish Government, are content to raise the spectre of a land border as anti-Belfast Agreement, whilst at the same time ignoring the anti-agreement reality of an Irish Sea Border, is nothing short of self-serving hypocrisy.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said his party is totally opposed to a bill that “represents the worst impulses of this British Government to attempt to trample the interests and rights of people in Northern Ireland”.

Sir John and Mr Blair, the former Conservative and Labour leaders, united to condemn Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial UK Internal Market Bill in an article for the Sunday Times.

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“We both opposed Brexit. We both accept it is now happening. But this way of negotiating, with reason cast aside in pursuit of ideology and cavalier bombast posing as serious diplomacy, is irresponsible,” they said.

“It raises questions that go far beyond the impact on Ireland, the peace process and negotiations for a trade deal. It questions the very integrity of our nation.”