The leading Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has launched a fierce attack on the tactics of Dublin and Brussels over the Irish border.
Writing in today’s News Letter, see link below, Mr Rees-Mogg accuses the Irish government of “irresponsible, vote-chasing immaturity” in its joint approach with the EU.
This approach culminated in this week’s hard hitting set of proposals to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and single market in the absence of a comprehensive trade deal.
“I cannot see how it is in the Republic’s interests for its current prime minister, Leo Varadkar to posture in this way, not least by endorsing the fantasy proposals of Michel Barnier this week,” says Mr Rees-Mogg.
The suggestion that Northern Ireland be separated from the rest of the UK would do “comprehensive harm to the Belfast Agreement and risk No Deal, which would be more damaging to the Republic’s economy than to any other European state”.
Mr Rees-Mogg, who is increasingly talked of as a possible Tory leader, dismisses the notion that Eurosceptics are showing disregard for the 1998 Belfast Agreement.
“What does the agreement have at its core? The cardinal principle of consent: that Northern Ireland is in the Union for as long as it wishes to be. What did Brussels do? Ignore this completely.
“Some Brexiteers have been accused of trying to undermine the agreement, when they have not. But when Brussels abandons one of its key tenets, no one seems to notice.”
Mr Rees-Mogg dismisses as “absurd” a suggestion that Northern Ireland “should be detached from the rest of the country and become a protectorate of Brussels”.
The very proposals are “an unfriendly act” by the EU, he writes. “So why even suggest them unless No Deal is your objective?”
He adds: “In Northern Ireland, the DUP – our partners in Parliament and in the cause of keeping Mr Corbyn out of Number 10 – led the charge for Brexit in suitably principled fashion.”