Northern Ireland news

Tories becoming an English nationalist party, says Ian Paisley

DUP MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley said although it was said his natural allies in Westminster should be the Tories, he found Labour gave Northern Ireland a “far better deal”
Geraldine Scott, PA Political Correspondent

The Conservative Party is becoming more an “English nationalist party” that does not understand what is happening in the devolved nations, the DUP's Ian Paisley has said.

In an interview with GB News to be broadcast today, Mr Paisley said although it was said his natural allies in Westminster should be the Tories, he found Labour gave Northern Ireland a “far better deal”.

Speaking to Gloria De Piero, Mr Paisley said: “Yes, the Conservatives call themselves the Conservative and Unionist Party, but I believe that the Conservative Party today is becoming more and more an English nationalist party that doesn’t really understand what’s going on in Scotland, certainly in Northern Ireland, and in other regions.

“And we’ve got to, and I’ve got to, try and encourage them and educate them and help them to understand.”

He said: “We’re not little Englanders, trying to be little Englanders. We’re proud Northern Ireland people who have an identity of their own and you’ve got to understand it and govern on that basis.”

Mr Paisley said he could usually get a meeting with Boris Johnson if he wanted one, but that it was difficult to keep the prime minister focused on Northern Ireland because “he’s pulled in so many different directions”.

“We’ve got to do things to draw his attention before things go bad again in Northern Ireland, and I would far rather he gets it now than reacts to a situation,” he said.

“We’ve always had a better deal from Labour,” he added.

“Anytime we’ve had a Labour prime minister or a Labour secretary of state, they’ve understood Northern Ireland, usually better.

“Their bark has been worse than their bite you might say. We’ve always kind of had the fear, will Labour take us in a particular direction closer to a united Ireland? But their bark about that and their actual bite has been very, very different.”

Asked if he trusted Mr Johnson to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol wrangling, he said: “I don’t trust anyone in politics, I’ve become really sceptical, and I think that it’s foolish to put your trust in people.

“We can only trust the people, that they will hopefully elect sensible people, and then that we can trust those people to respond positively to the messages and the political policies that we have.

“But the idea that I’m trusting this particular politician, I think those days have long since gone.”

The full interview will be broadcast on GB News at 12.30pm today.

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