Northern Ireland news

DUP says policy chief's work for no-deal group 'entirely a matter for him'

DUP head of policy Lee Reynolds, and right, a Brexit Express campaign poster in London
Brendan Hughes

THE DUP has said its director of policy's decision to carry out paid consultancy work for a no-deal Brexit pressure group is "entirely a matter" for him.

Belfast councillor Lee Reynolds received almost £1,000 for just over a week of work between November and January on behalf of Brexit Express.

The group, founded by multi-millionaire financier Jeremy Hosking, is actively pushing for the UK to leave the European Union without a deal.

"This was undertaken during annual leave and entirely a matter for Mr Reynolds," a DUP spokesman said.

"The party does not favour a 'no deal' outcome but supports a sensible deal which works for every part of the UK as well as our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland," he said.

Brexit Express, which offered funding to Leave-supporting Tories in 2017's election, is now seeking to register as a new political party in Britain.

Mr Reynolds, group leader of the DUP on Belfast City Council, declared his work with Brexit Express on his council register of interests.

The councillor said he received a daily rate of £130 for the work, amounting to a total wage of £975.

He said he was involved in the "paperwork and policy" for "registering Brexit Express as a political party in Great Britain".

SDLP Belfast councillor Dónal Lyons had criticised the DUP councillor's consultancy work as "beyond reckless", and warned of the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

But Mr Reynolds dismissed concerns over working for a no-deal campaign group.

"I wasn't being employed for policy advice or analysis on that basis. I was simply being brought in on an administrative matter," he said.

He added: "I don't agree with Brexit Express on a no-deal Brexit."

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