New prime minister needs to combat Sinn Fein’s anti-British agenda, says Ian Paisley

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)
Ian Paisley has said the new Prime Minister must also stand up against Irish republicanism’s anti-British agenda as well as replacing the Northern Ireland Protocol.

As the Conservative leadership contest reaches a fractious climax this weekend, Mr Paisley called on whoever succeeds Boris Johnson to understand the wider fears of unionists in the Province.The North Antrim MP said: “As the Conservative Party leadership race reaches a conclusion people are right to consider what this will mean for Northern Ireland. Unionists need someone in Downing Street who actually understands Northern Ireland and recognises that the unionist people have very valid concerns about their place in the Union.”

Mr Paisley said unionist faith in the UK Government had been “totally undermined by Boris Johnson’s mishandling and his betrayal of unionists during the Brexit negotiations.”

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He continued: “Unionists need a PM and a Tory leader who will stand up to the EU, the Republic of Ireland and those in Parliament who are totally hypnotised by the European Union!

“So far, each of the candidates have expressed their support for the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, that is according to the Orange Order, a step in the right direction to reform the Protocol.

“But the next PM will need to go further and not only implement the changes but be strong and insist that these changes are implemented so that Northern Ireland’s place in the Union is respected.”

In addition to robustly championing radical changes to the NI Protocol, the DUP MP said unionists wanted a new Prime Minister to counter “a general anti-British campaign” in Northern Ireland by republicans.

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“The field day that Irish republicanism and nationalism have had - being able to run amok - must be brought to an end, “ he said.

Returning to the Protocol, Mr Paisley added: “What is clear is that whoever becomes Prime Minister they will have no working devolution in Northern Ireland until this matter of the Protocol is fixed.

“Whoever is the Prime Minister - it is either the protocol or power sharing. That will be top of their in-tray.”

Earlier in the House of Commons this week, Mr Paisley told fellow MP’s that “power sharing has broken down in NI because of the protocol and that “unionists will not go in until it is fixed and the only way to fix it is through a piece of legislation We have the legislation in front of us and that is why it is necessary.”

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Referring to one of the most peaceful Twelfth of Julys alongside the Orange Order’s qualified support for the NI Protocol Bill from platforms on the 12th, Mr Paisley said: “The reason why there is an element of calm in Northern Ireland at the present time I have to say is because of this step in the right direction (the Protocol Bill) is being taken.

“If there are those members in this House who want to bash the Government, or if they don’t think the Government has got it quite right, then they should weigh up their actions very carefully. Because the reason why we have an element of calm in Northern Ireland is because it appears to loyalism and to unionism that steps are being taken in the right direction to protect their precious Union.”

Meanwhile one of the Protocol Bill’s opponents on the Tory back benches has launched a blistering attack on former Brexit minister and negotiator with the EU, Lord Frost.

Lord Frost used a Daily Telegraph article to urge Tory leadership candidate Kemi Bandenoch to pull out of the race and support the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

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“It is now time for pragmatism. I urge Kemi to stand down in return for a serious job in a Truss administration,” Lord Frost wrote.

But on Friday Simon Hoare, the Conservative chairman of the Northern Ireland Select Committee tweeted in response: “I don’t wish to be rude but who the hell is an unelected, failed minister to tell any MP what to do?”

In a clear sign of the bitter divisions caused by the Tory leadership battle, Mr Hoare continued: “For some unknown reason David Frost perpetually thinks we give a flying **** what he thinks. We don’t and we won’t.”

Twenty-four hours earlier Mr Hoare branded Lord Moylan, a Brexiteer Peer in the House of Lords, a “grade A idiot.”