Frontier peer Hay attacks nationalists for using Brexit to undermine the North

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DUP grandee Willie Hay, speaking as ‘probably’ the most proximate peer to the border, has accused Sinn Féin and the SDLP of using Brexit to undermine the North.

Mr. Hay also attacked some colleagues in Westminster’s upper house for using the UK’s impending departure from the European Union as a stick with which to beat the current Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May.

The former Derry City councillor, who now takes the title Lord Hay of Ballyore in the House of Lords, told colleagues: “I live closer to the border, probably, than any other Member of this House. I live in the city of Londonderry, about 20 miles [sic] from the border.

“I have listened to some very good speeches in this House on Brexit and on the border, and some not so good.

“I never believed in my lifetime that there would be so many experts on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in this House. I say that very sincerely.”

Notwithstanding this acknowledgement the Waterside-based crossbencher said Brexit was being used cynically in Ireland and Britain.

“I also believe that there are some Members of this House - and I hope that I am wrong but only time will prove it - who are using Brexit and especially the border issue as a political stick to beat the Prime Minister with. I say that very sincerely.

“Certainly, in Northern Ireland there are parties who are using the border to undermine Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom. People talk about a hard border and a soft border, and then people talk about keeping Northern Ireland in the customs union and within the single market.

“That is undermining the position of Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.”