Eastwood: Statues will be erected to Boris Johnson, the DUP and Brexiteers
Colum Eastwood has said statues will be erected in a united Ireland to Boris Johnson, his hard line Brexit supporters and the DUP for a series of self-defeating geopolitical missteps they have taken over the past decade.
He has also branded the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill a 'sop to the DUP' and a 'campaigning tool' for the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in her bid to be elected the new leader of the Conservative Party.
The SDLP leader claim the bill, which seeks to allow the British Government override elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement it agreed with the European Union, 'clearly and blatantly breaks international law'.
Mr. Eastwood railed against the bill in the British House of Commons as it was discussed at committee stage this week.
He argued that hard line Brexiteers had made a series of self-defeating blunders over the past decade and he claimed that statues will be erected to them in Ireland when Irish unity is realised.
"We have also heard an awful lot about the Union. I think that some people in this place, who have talked a lot about the Union but have acted in a certain way around this Brexit farce since 2016, will come to regret it.
"There will be statues erected in the new Ireland to Boris Johnson and some of the Members of the DUP, because that is the road that they have taken us down. I fully respect—by the way—the principle of consent, and it was my predecessor who made sure that it was in the Good Friday Agreement.
"The constitutional position of Northern Ireland, whatever anybody says and however much I want to change it, cannot be changed until the people of Northern Ireland and the people of the Republic of Ireland vote to change it. To say anything else is just not true," he said.
"It breaks an agreement that the Government made with the European Union and that was trumpeted to the electorate as a fantastic deal. I think the Bill will end up going the same way as the Prime Minister," he blasted.
The Foyle MP claimed the bill had been instigated to appease the DUP and to help Liz Truss in her bid to be the next Prime Minister but warned that if it is enacted it will lead to a trade war with Europe and huge tariffs on goods that will send prices further spiralling.
"This Bill is a sop to the DUP and a campaigning tool for the Foreign Secretary in the Conservative party leadership election. If it is driven through, the only likely outcome is a trade dispute with the European Union. Well, good luck to the next Prime Minister if they want to go into the general election with prices going even higher than they already are," he said.
Mr. Eastwood told MPs that a large majority of people in the north are opposed to the bill.
"The reality for all those people who say they care about the people of Northern Ireland is that the people of Northern Ireland do not want this bill. Their elected representatives do not want this bill. The representatives of the business groups we have been told so much about do not want this bill. Anybody with any sense knows that this is a blatant breaking of international law," he said.
The Derry MP challenged the DUP to return to the Stormont Assembly as the bill was passed in the British House of Commons.
"I wish to end my remarks with an ask of the DUP. We have been told over the past number of months that the Northern Ireland Assembly cannot meet unless this piece of legislation goes through.
"Well, this piece of legislation is just about to go through the House of Commons. Will the DUP now take the opportunity to go back into Stormont to live up to their responsibilities as democratically elected leaders in Northern Ireland and do the job that people are crying out for them to do?" he asked.
The SDLP has tabled a petition to recall the Northern Ireland Assembly after the bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons.