Brexit

Video: 'Never, never' accept withdrawal agreement, Ian Paisley urges London Leave rally

Ian Paisley addresses the crowd at the Leave Means Leave rally at Parliament Square on Friday
 
Paul Ainsworth

A SPEECH by Ian Paisley at a pro-Brexit rally in London saw the DUP MP emulate his late father by shouting "never, never" over Theresa May's withdrawal agreement.

Tens of thousands of Brexit supporters gathered in London's Parliament Square on Friday, the day the UK was originally due to leave the European Union, where speeches were made by prominent Brexiteers including Nigel Farage and J D Wetherspoon owner Tim Martin.

Two rallies, organised by the Leave Means Leave group and UKIP, also saw a loyalist marching band from Scotland parade in the square, while the North Antrim MP, whose party props up the Conservatives in a confidence and supply agreement, took to one of the stages at the rally to address the crowd.

Receiving applause throughout the speech, in which he referred to the controversial Northern Ireland backstop as a "backstab", the DUP politician told protestors: "You're red, you're white, you're dynamite," before attacking Ms May's deal, which has been rejected by the British parliament three times.

"Ladies and gentlemen, there is a good story recounted in the good book," Mr Paisley said.

"It says the wise build their house upon a rock. I am glad today we are standing with the rock of the British people against the sinking sand of the withdrawal agreement that we will never, never wear on our people."

Ian Paisley at a pro-Brexit rally in London on March 29

Referring to the famous "sunny uplands" quote by Conservative MP and Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom in her prediction of Britain post-Brexit, Mr Paisley continued: "Ahead of us stands the sunny uplands of freedom, and they will never take our freedom.

"Do not let any government ever put upon you a withdrawal agreement that cuts our great nation in two."

The speech came as DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said he would rather stay in the EU than risk NI's position in the union.

Mr Paisley's choice of words prompted criticism and mockery on social media.

Former Irish Labour senator and SDLP Lisburn councillor Maria Cahill said in a tweet that Mr Paisley's words"could almost be an Adams speech from 1985", while others joked...Ian Paisley was a warm-up act for 'No Surrender' and "Ian Paisley Jnr sounding a lot like Ian Paisley the elder at Leave rally"

Others referred to the Scottish loyalist flute bands which played at the rally saying: "Leave demo goes full Belfast loyalist".

Protesters at a Brexit rally on Whitehall in London on Friday. Picture by Stefan Rousseau, Press Association

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