Northern Ireland news

Sammy Wilson has accused Leo Varadkar of behaving in an 'abominable way' over Brexit

Sammy Wilson (left) said Leo Varadkar had made "threats" during Brexit negotiations
Connla Young

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of behaving in an "abominable way" during Brexit negotiations.

The MP for East Antrim and staunch leave campaigner made the outburst during the Claire Byrne Live show on Monday night.

The DUP Brexit spokesman accused Mr Varadkar of making threats including moving the Irish army to the border after Brexit.

"I think Leo Varadkar has behaved in an abominable way during these negotiations," he said.

"Don't forget these are the kind of threats we have had from the taoiseach: that electricity could be switched off in Northern Ireland, that planes from Britain would not be allowed to fly over the Irish republic."

At one point presenter Claire Byrne interrupted Mr Wilson to say: "I am not sure that Leo Varadkar said all of that."

Mr Wilson continued to make more claims.

"He was going to send troops to the Irish border, in fact he even talked about a Berlin Wall, he would not erect a Berlin wall along the Irish border," he said.

He also claimed Mr Varadkar has "ramped up the rhetoric".

Ms Byrne then directly challenged Mr Wilson’s remarks saying: "Sammy Wilson, he has said none of those things, come on."

Read More: Sammy Wilson hits out at 'Brit-bashing' Leo Varadkar

Mr Wilson went on to say the remarks had been "recorded freely" by the press and that Mr Varadkar "has not denied it, that those kind of things were said".

During the interview the DUP man said that "a small Irish economy will not be able to stand the impact of Britain leaving and the huge imports which Britain brings from Ireland being cut off".

He also questioned Ireland's insistence on a Brexit backstop.

"It just seems mad that when looking at it from Northern Ireland, it seems absolute madness that your government has rushed headlong down a route which puts a barrier between not only Northern Ireland and GB, which is our main market, but the Republic of Ireland and GB, which is your main market," he said.

Quiz: Who said it - Sammy Wilson or Donald Trump?

SDLP Brexit Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan was critical of Mr Wilson.

"Sammy Wilson's threatening rhetoric on the Claire Byrne show is an insight into how the DUP have conducted themselves throughout the entire Brexit process," he said.

"His performance illustrated that when it comes to Brexit, the DUP are only worried about the next election, not the next generation, who will be left to pick up the pieces of this Brexit mess."

The SDLP man said the backstop is inevitable.

"The SDLP, alongside the EU27 and the Irish government, have been very clear that the backstop will be banked and the sooner Sammy Wilson and his colleagues accept that fact, the sooner we can progress this process," he said.

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