Lord Empey: Robinson 'launched like a political distress flare' by DUP
Lord Empey was responding to Peter Robinson’s intervention on the DUP’s negotiations with the government, in which he suggested that unionists could not expect to get everything they wanted from a deal.
Mr Robinson also said outstanding issues could be dealt with when Stormont is up and running.
Lord Empey said: “Whenever Peter Robinson intervenes at a critical time in politics, one knows that something is up!
“He has been launched, like a political distress flare, to help the DUP find its way out of the cul-de-sac into which it has led itself and unionism over the last few years.
“Much of what Peter said has been put forward by Doug Beattie over the last 22 months.
“The DUP were the prime movers in the headlong charge into Brexit without any plan for how the border issue was to be dealt with and followed the ‘pied piper’ Boris Johnson into the train wreck that Brexit has become for Northern Ireland.”
The former UUP leader lays the blame for the current political situation at the DUP’s door.
“The DUP has railed against the border in the Irish Sea, which they foolishly welcomed on 2nd October 2019 when Johnson proposed it,” he added.
“They could have stopped Boris in his tracks then as they were propping up his government in Parliament but failed to do so.
“The people of Northern Ireland have been paying for this blunder ever since."
Dame Arlene Foster, who led the DUP when the Tories proposed the sea border, has previously said that in hindsight her party should have “pulled the plug” on the party’s deal to keep the Conservatives in power.
She has argued that the party had wanted Brexit to happen for all of the UK – and had been looking at the “wider national picture”.