Senior Derry DUP man Willie Hay has taken aim at the British Prime Minister saying his party’s quarrel isn’t with the Conservative Party but with Theresa May, and her “broken promises” to unionists.
The former Derry City councillor, discussing Mrs. May’s putative Brexit deal in the British House of Lords, said the Tory leader had made much of her unionism ever since taking on the premiership from her predecessor David Cameron two years ago.
However, Lord Hay of Ballyore, as he now styles himself in Westminster’s upper house, said this would count for nothing if the North was to be treated in any way differently from Britain for the purposes of the United Kingdom’s departure of the European Union.
“From the very moment she entered No. 10, Theresa May said that the word unionism was important to her.
“She talked of protecting the precious bond between the UK’s four nations. I have to say that I believe this deal does the opposite.
“I could stand here and list the broken promises, as has already been said, that the Prime Minister gave to us, both privately and publicly,” said the former Stormont speaker.
Ominously for Mrs. May, whose party are in an arms-length coalition with the DUP under their fragile ‘confidence and supply’ agreement, the senior DUP figure focused his ire on her rather than the Conservative Party at large.
“Our battle is not with the Conservative Party but with the Prime Minister and her Cabinet and their broken promises.
“We will not get into the question of who should lead the Conservative Party, now or in the future: that is a matter for the Conservative Party alone. This is about not any deal, but the right deal,” he said.
During the same debate the former Mayor warned that “this proposed Brexit plan will establish significant difference between NIand the rest of the UK”.
He said: “It would certainly see NI staying aligned with the rules of the EU single market if another solution cannot be found by the end of the transition period in December 2020.
“That means that goods coming into NI would need to be checked to see whether they meet EU standards.”
He warned that businesses in the North would have to “follow EU VAT rules on goods coming into the country”.
“I have to say that the deal fails to protect jobs and the economy in NI and it creates a border down the Irish Sea, subjecting us to EU rules without any power to influence or change them,” complained the senior unionist.