Iconic unionist Edward Carson's sense of betrayal by Tories invoked during Protocol debate

Edward Carson's sense of betrayal by the Conservative Party was invoked during a debate after the second reading of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill in Westminster on Monday.
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"What a fool I was. I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into power," was the famous quote from the iconic Irish unionist leader cited by SDLP MP Claire Hanna.

The remarks were made by the iconic Dublin-born unionist in the British House of Lords on December 14, 1921, in rejection of the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

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Ms. Hanna said Carson had been reflecting 'on the shambles left by the Conservative party on the island of Ireland'.

Edward CarsonEdward Carson
Edward Carson

"The only difference between then and now, when we have this miserable, deceitful Bill before us, is that we are talking about maintaining the Conservative party in power and propping up a failing, discredited Prime Minister," said Ms. Hanna.

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The South Belfast MP claimed the NI Protocol Bill was an attempt by the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to 'curry favour' with the hard-line Brexiteer European Research Group and 'once again pull the wool over Unionism’s eyes'.

During the same debate the ghost of Éamon de Valera was also conjured.

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The staunch Brexiteer MP Bill Cash claimed the adoption of Bunreacht na hÉireann in 1937 was comparable to the British Government overriding elements of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol it negotiated and signed with the European Union in 2019.

"Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in 1937 de Valera himself actually tore up the Anglo-Irish treaty in exactly the same kind of way as he is accusing other people of doing?" Mr. Cash asked Richard Thomson, the Scottish National Party (SNP) MP for Gordon.

Mr. Thomson responded: "The hon. Gentleman seems to be confusing me with a representative of the Government of Ireland; that is an interesting historical diversion that I would be more than happy to discuss with him later, but I am not exactly certain how germane it is to this particular discussion. It seems a little bit recondite to say the least."

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The NI Protocol Bill passed its second reading in the British House of Commons following a vote on Monday night. It will now move to the committee stage.

The European Commission recently launched infringement proceedings against the UK in response to the bill for 'not complying with significant parts of the Irish Protocol'.