Sammy Wilson hits back at businesses over Brexit
Sammy Wilson has hit out at Northern Ireland’s largest businesses, who said a no-deal Brexit would stifle the next generation’s opportunities.
An open letter was penned by the CBI and signed by some of the Province’s biggest employers.
It said a no-deal exit will result in significant damage to export markets, supply chains, consumer spending power and the country’s competitiveness.
But responding to the letter, East Antrim MP and DUP Brexit spokesman Mr Wilson said MPs will not be railroaded into accepting a bad Brexit deal.
“In the run up to the vote on leaving the EU which will take place on Tuesday, it is clear that there is a coordinated attempt to railroad MPs into accepting the toxic, Union destroying, NI economy damaging deal, which the prime minister had previously agreed with the EU.
“Last week the head of the civil service entered the political arena with his ham-fisted, chaos threatening letter and now we find that businesses in NI are engaging in the same tactic.
“What is particularly odd about the business letter is that first of all it concentrates on damage to the NI economy. This comes from a non-existent threat of infrastructure along the border, while ignoring the explicit terms of the withdrawal agreement.
“Those terms would exclude NI businesses from having any benefit from trade agreements, which the UK might strike with the rest of the world, in the future and more immediately, it would make it difficult for firms to trade with the GB market.”
Mr Wilson added: “Secondly the letter ignores the role of the EU in the current impasse. Despite the government of the UK rolling over to every demand the EU has made. EU negotiators have showed no flexibility at all to MPs across the political spectrum in Parliament.
“Indeed this week, Barnier reinforced his inflexibility towards NI. He believes NI must be separated from the UK in future relationships with the EU.
“When it comes to flexibility we have already as a party, with our allies in the Conservative Party, sought to find a number of ways around the obstacles to a deal. We had suggested an end date to a UK wide backstop, at an early stage offered that the NI Assembly would be able to decide on the nature of the backstop and any implementation of EU rules in the UK. And only today Nigel Dodds along with a prominent ERG member has written in the Daily Telegraph suggesting how we can avoid a no deal.
“It is important that businesses in NI do not simply fall into line with the government’s attempt to foist a really bad deal on the UK because of its incompetence in negotiations. They should also understand that we have used all of our contacts, abilities and Parliamentary strength to defend not only the Union but also the interests of businesses in Northern Ireland.
“That will be our guiding light when decide how we will vote on Tuesday.”