Northern Ireland news

Stephen Farry urged to apologise after calling political unionism a 'grievance factory'

North Down MP Stephen Farry. Picture by Mal McCann

STRANGFORD MLA Mike Nesbitt has called for Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry to apologise for suggesting political unionism is a "grievance factory" that ignores practical solutions to the problems posed by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The North Down MP today said he found it "most frustrating" that a Swiss-style veterinary agreement, which he said could remove 80 per cent of checks on goods coming from Britain, is being ignored by unionists.

“Unionism, for whatever reason, isn't interested in that – they seem to be more interested in a grievance factory and scapegoating people, which is extremely disappointing,” Mr Farry told the BBC.

But the former Ulster Unionist leader described the remark as "outrageous" and called for the Alliance deputy leader to apologise and withdraw what he said.

Mr Nesbitt said it was "wrong on all sorts of levels".

He said Mr Farry failed to understand the "sense of betrayal unionism feels", while he was also "driving a coach and horses through the Declaration of Support" for the Good Friday Agreement.

“What is said is said and will be noted by unionists – if Mr Farry is serious about upholding the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, he should withdraw and apologise," the Strangford MLA said.

Strangford UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt. Picture by: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

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