DUP MP Sammy Wilson has made it clear that his party is in favours quitting the EU customs union and single market – news that will come as music to the ears of hardline Brexiteers within the Tory Party.
Some media commentators in England – amid intense scrutiny of the Democratic Unionists – had suggested they would demand a so-called “soft Brexit” in their deal with Conservatives.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon in the House of Commons, Mr Wilson outlined the reasons his party was supporting the Government on the Queen’s Speech. Among them was an agreement on the type of Brexit the UK should seek.
He said: “We support the Queen’s Speech and the Government because we share the same values when it comes to leaving the European Union.
“We support the stance that the government have taken in their White Paper on leaving the single market, leaving the customs union and ensuring that we are free from the diktats of Europe and free to make deals with those parts of the world in which economies are expanding.”
Commentators had been led to speculate – that because of previous comments from the DUP on the importance of a Brexit that respected the shared history and geography with the Republic of Ireland, and its dismissal of the notion of a hard border – the party could favour a soft Brexit.
Mr Wilson also said his party shared the same economic values as the Government and supported its commitment to the Union, adding: “We support the fact that the government are committed to the Union, while the alternative is committed to breaking up the Union and, indeed, has supported parties in the past that have tried to break up the Union by violence.”
He said the DUP’s support for the Tories was not because of what the Shadow Chancellor dubbed a “grubby backroom deal”, but a deal published in the Commons and struck “because the Government wished to have the influence of our votes”.