DUP MP Sammy Wilson says Leo Varadkar's Brexit view is not a unanimous one in the Republic
Sammy Wilson, the Brexit spokesperson for the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said on Tuesday that the British need to “stand up to” the Irish in Brexit negotiations.
MP for East Antrim, Sammy Wilson is pro-Brexit and against the proposed backstop which seeks to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit. Wilson is pushing for a revised or new agreement.
Brexit has been twice delayed this year, and the new official departure date of October 31 still looms with no plan in place. In June, UK Prime Minister Theresa May stepped down after failing to secure a Brexit deal. Now, Tory members Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt are vying to fill May's vacated role.
Speaking with BBC Radio 4′s Today program on Tuesday, Wilson said: "During my time in the Northern Ireland Executive and during the period since the Belfast Agreement, we've had to negotiate with Dublin, time and time again.”
"The one thing I do know is once Dublin knows that you mean what you say and say what you mean, then you sometimes find a different attitude.”
"Leo Varadkar's view on how Brexit should be negotiated is not a unanimous view in the Republic - there are many people in the Republic who are now thinking that Ireland has perhaps overstretched itself, overstated its case, and that stance could damage the Irish economy.”
"I think that will put immense pressure on Leo Varadkar to look at a different attitude.”
Referring to Johnson and Hunt, Wilson said: "What we'll be saying to both candidates is look, we know the Irish, if you vacillate, they'll push you around. If you stand up to them, they'll take you seriously."
Wilson has indicated his support for both Johnson and Hunt and their proposed plans for Brexit: “What we’ve heard so far, we’re very pleased about. They have said that the current agreement is not going to work. They have both said that they are committed to the union. And thirdly, they’re both saying that we will leave on 31 October.”
Wilson added: "I think that's important to send out to the EU negotiators that they days of ambivalence and ambiguous deadlines, etc are over, and they've got to get serious."
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