Peter Robinson is trying to create a smokescreen over the DUP’s role in the ‘Northern Ireland Protocol smokescreen,’ says Lord Empey

Lord Empey has accused former DUP leader Peter Robinson of attempting to create a “smokescreen” around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 6:57 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2021, 11:04 pm
Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

The Ulster Unionist peer was made his comments in response to Mr Robinson’s New Letter column on Friday (see link below) – in which Mr Robinson said the UUP, under the stewardship of leader Doug Beattie, could offer no more than “lobbying” against the protocol being imposed on Northern Ireland.

Lord Empey said: “Peter Robinson’s decision to attack Doug Beattie and the Ulster Unionist Party on the Northern Ireland Protocol highlights in the starkest possible manner just how rattled the DUP currently is and how badly it needs a smokescreen to distract from its own failings.

“The DUP is simply desperate to distract the Northern Ireland public from the role they played in delivering the catastrophe of a border in the Irish Sea. On October 2, 2019 the DUP endorsed a regulatory border in the Irish Sea with all the add-ons of border inspection posts, as the much vaunted ‘blood red lines’ were washed away.

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“As a result of that decision, Boris Johnson was able to go to Brussels and Dublin and claim he had unionist consent for his plan.”

He added: “This point was backed up by evidence given to a House of Commons Committee on October 30, 2019 by former No10 adviser Raoul Ruparel who suggested that the DUP’s decision was a significant change from their previous opposition to a regulatory border in the Irish Sea.

“Of course this isn’t the first time Peter Robinson has taken aim at an Ulster Unionist leader. Over 20 years ago he led the attack on David Trimble and the Belfast Agreement only to work that self same Agreement once he was offered the top job.

“Now it is the turn of Doug Beattie to be on receiving end of Peter Robinson’s attacks.”

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