Arlene Foster accuses Tony Blair and John Major of Brexit 'threats of violence' over Troubles warning
DUP leader Arlene Foster today accused ex-prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major of “throwing threats of violence around” in their Brexit warnings about the Northern Ireland border.
The former first minister said those warning that the Good Friday Agreement could be in jeopardy were “an insult to the people of Northern Ireland who worked hard to bring peace to the country”.
Earlier this month Mr Blair warned that those suggesting the historic peace deal he brokered could be updated were “prepared to sacrifice peace in Northern Ireland on the altar of Brexit”.
Just a day later Sir John voiced concerns about the possible impact of Brexit on the “still fragile peace process” - amid uncertainty over whether the border on the island of Ireland will stay open.
But in a speech in central London today Ms Foster blasted the pair who she hinted were removed from the suffering of the Troubles despite their involvement in the peace process.
“I object in the strongest terms to people who have limited experience of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, throwing threats of violence around as some kind of bargaining chip in this negotiating process,” she told the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference.
“To do so is an insult to the people of Northern Ireland who worked so hard to bring peace to the country.”
A DUP source added: “The people who delivered peace in Northern Ireland were the men and women who live and work here.”
Elsewhere in her speech, Ms Foster will add: “When I talk about the border in a Brexit scenario, I don’t speak about some far away land. I speak about home.
“I don’t want to see a hard border. I want to see an optimistic, sensible and pragmatic approach to Brexit.”
Earlier this week Ms Foster warned that the DUP - whose 10 MPs prop up Theresa May’s minority government - would block any Brexit deal that could see Northern Ireland separated in any way from the rest of the UK.