DUP MP Ian Paisley: Irish PM Leo Varadkar has been 'done over' on Brexit

Posted On: 
11th December 2017

Top DUP MP Ian Paisley has boasted that Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar was “done over” by his party, the UK and the EU in the Brexit negotiations.

Ian Paisley with Boris Johnson in 2016
PA Images

Theresa May secured a landmark deal with Brussels on Friday after she agreed there should be regulatory alignment between Ireland and Ulster on sectors affecting the Good Friday Agreement.

The clause was written into the text after Mr Varadkar demanded written guarantees that the 310-mile Irish land border would not be hardened after Brexit.

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But yesterday Dublin lashed out at the UK after Brexit Secretary David Davis said the deal was not “legally enforceable”.

North Antrim MP Mr Paisley - who is one of the 10 DUP MPs propping up the Tory government - fanned the flames last night as he said the role his party had in the talks had pulled a fast one on Dublin.

The DUP had initially vetoed the deal when they feared it would leave Northern Ireland facing a different set of trade regulations to the rest of the UK.

But the Prime Minister won their support when she said every UK nation would have to sign up to ‘full alignment’ with EU rules to protect the border.

In a bullish statement, Mr Paisley said the Irish prime minister “believed he was about to pull off a major coup of having secured Northern Ireland harmonised with the Republic of Ireland”.

He went on: “Frankly, whatever efforts are made to characterise this week, Leo Varadkar was done over by the EU, the UK and the DUP.”

And he said: “For weeks I and my colleagues had been warning Dublin that they had overstretched themselves and were attempting to use the Brexit negotiations to undermine Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

“They were warned that the effort to make the border the centrepiece of the negotiations was misguided and that any discussion about the border was irrelevant until after the trade relationship part of the negotiations had been established.

“Friday’s agreement effectively conceded that point and has relegated the completion of any negotiation about the border to be concluded at the end of the negotiations. Once again a very clear indication that Leo Varadkar has been done over.”

Appearing on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, Mr Davis said the agreement was "a statement of intent" and therefore not "a legally enforceable thing".

In response, Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney stressed that Britain had made "a clear and positive commitment" to the deal.

It came after MPs said ministers had assured them the pledge for ‘full alignment’ was meaningless in UK law.