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Lord Reg Empey (Ulster Unionist Party leader from 2005 to 2010, and current party chairman) had this to say today:
"There has been widespread and, as far as I can see, universal unionist opposition to the protocol. "But, sadly, that was not always the case. "The border in the Irish Sea is a self-inflicted wound because on the day that Boris Johnson proposed it to the EU, the first people to back him were Arlene Foster and her 10 Westminster MPs. "On October 2, 2019, when the Prime Minister unveiled his plans to saw off this part of the United Kingdom from Great Britain, Mrs Foster described his plans as 'a serious and sensible way forward'. "The DUP's actions were reckless and have done untold constitutional and economic damage to Northern Ireland.

"Clearly the DUP were no match for the Prime Minister. "He ran rings around them, and today Mrs Foster is in no position to lead unionism out of the mess that she and her colleagues created."

There is no love lost between the UUP (Ulster Unionist Party) and the DUP, but Lord Empey seems to have overlooked that his former leader, David Trimble, also supported Brexit and the deal Boris negotiated, including the protocol.

The letter below mine in today's Irish Times makes that point emphatically:

Sir, - David Trimble's bare-faced chutzpah is astounding. He tells us that the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol wilfully tears up the Belfast Agreement, changes fundamentally the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and "ignores the fundamental principle of consent".

This is the same man who, in his enthusiasm for a hard Brexit deal, told the Spectator in 2019 that the protocol was "a great step forward": "Whilst, previously, the people of Northern Ireland were to have an agreement imposed on them, now we have a mechanism for the consent of the people of Northern Ireland. This is fully in accordance with the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement".

To see David Trimble using that which he endorsed so emphatically to stoke resentment in the unionist population is to witness a staggering example of political irresponsibility. - Yours, etc,


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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2021 at 04:29:20 PM EST

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