Sammy Wilson hits out at those who would ‘justify EU retaliation against the UK’ over bid to undercut Northern Ireland Protocol

Sammy Wilson has said that anti-Brexiteers should be “careful what they wish for”, after a polling firm found that a majority of respondents believe EU “retaliation” would be justified over the UK’s NI Protocol moves.

He was reacting to a survey carried out by the company LucidTalk into attitudes among the Northern Irish public towards the sea border.

Here are some of the stand-out figures:

> 57% do not believe the UK would be justified in taking unilateral action to suspend elements of the protocol; however, 38% believe that the UK government would be justified in doing so.

Sammy Wilson

> 55% maintain that the EU would be justified in taking retaliatory action if the UK did take unilateral action to suspend elements of the protocol – 35% disagree.

> 55% think the protocol is having a positive impact on the Northern Ireland economy, and 65% think it offers unique opportunities that could benefit Northern Ireland.

> 59% think it is having a negative impact on political stability in Northern Ireland and on British-Irish relations.

> 50% think the protocol is positive for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement whilst 38% think it is having a negative effect on it.

‘SOME WILL ALWAYS TAKE THE SIDE OF THE EU’:

Dealing with the idea that 55% of respondents feel EU “retaliation” against the UK would be justified, Mr Wilson said last night the EU would be “foolish” to do any such thing – but if they did, those who would suffer are “the very people who answered that poll”.

He added: “I think those people who think it’s right for them to do so should think very long and hard about what are the consequences of this for me?

“It’s not some amorphous, distant entity you’re talking about here. It’s the goods which would be available to people in Northern Ireland.”

He also said: “This debate is really not about the Protocol. It’s about Brexit.

“It’s significant that the 55% represents the people who voted for remaining in the EU [in Northern Ireland].

“So I think probably they ignore any of the issues around the current bill, it’s content, it’s need, and are simply falling back – as many people in the House of Commons did on Monday night – on their wish we’d remain in the EU.

“They’re pro-EU, will always be pro-EU, and they’ll always take the side of the EU.”

METHODOLOGY:

The poll involved 1,497 respondents, and was done on June 3-6.

Like other LucidTalk polls, it was done online, not face-to-face or over the phone.

It was commissioned by Queen’s University Belfast, which said: “The [protocol-related] surveys are being conducted every four months during 2021-2023 by LucidTalk using its online Northern Ireland Opinion Panel.

“This means that the survey is not based on systematic random sampling across Northern Ireland society.

“Instead, it is a reliable indicator of the opinion of Northern Ireland voters who take an interest in current affairs and politics, and who are likely to exercise their right to vote.”

The News Letter has written many, many times about LucidTalk and its polling methods. Full details here: