Sammy Wilson has played down suggestions of a rift within the DUP over its policy on the Brexit backstop, claiming the party is “united” on the matter.
The East Antrim MP told the News Letter on Wednesday that his party will vote against any form of Irish border backstop arrangement contained in the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement.
However, when pressed on the matter earlier this week, DUP leader Arlene Foster refused to say that she was still demanding the removal of the backstop.
Today, Mr Wilson sought to clarify his party’s official stance on the issue.
“Our MPs voted for the Brady amendment which mandated the government to seek the replacement of the backstop.
“The party is united on this matter,” he told the News Letter.
“The prime minister must now be given the space to secure those legally binding changes to the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
“The current backstop is unacceptable.”
The DUP Brexit spokesperson said his party would “measure any new draft withdrawal agreement against our own tests of both protecting the Union and respecting the referendum result”.
During a speech in Belfast this week, Prime Minister Theresa May made clear that – as far as the government is concerned –there will definitely be a backstop in any deal.
And earlier today, Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt further raised concerns among Eurosceptics by saying that the prime minister had assured him during her visit to Brussels that “there will be a backstop” in any final agreement.