Sammy Wilson harshly critical of King Charles over EC meet, brands monarch's decision 'very, very dangerous'
DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson described King Charles’ meeting with the European Commission president as “very, very dangerous”, one he believes will be regretted and even suggesting potential jeopardy to the monarchy.
The East Antrim MP’s condemnation of the meeting with Ursala von der Leyen follows similar harsh criticism from the former party leader Arlene Foster, though hers was directed at the UK government.
In an extraordinary interview, he told the Daily Telegraph's Chopper's political podcast: "I don’t know whether it was his choice, or whether the government persuaded him to do it, but I think it’s a very, very dangerous position for him to have taken.
“First of all it was calculated because there’s no part of the United Kingdom that gives adherence to the monarchy and respects the monarchy as much as unionists in Northern Ireland all throughout the Troubles.
“It’s a very, very dangerous thing that has been done. And don’t forget, this is just not the monarchy taking sides in a dispute between the DUP and the government.”
He added that governments have come and gone, and "betrayed us", but the monarchy was the one constant for unionists in the north.
The MP added the king was "not just taking sides" in a dispute between the DUP and Conservatives but also taking sides in an internal Tory dispute. "You could not get deeper into politics than that," he said.
Mr Wilson added: "The one thing I do know is that it is a bad decision. And I think it's a decision the king will come to regret in the future.
“And if he keeps going down this route and politicising the monarchy, then the status that his mother had, he will never acquire.
“And he will put the monarchy in jeopardy because people will simply see it as partisan rather than a national institution.”
Following the meeting between the EC president and the king, Ms Foster said: “I cannot quite believe that No 10 would HM the king to become involved in the finalising of a deal as controversial as this one. It is crass and will go down very badly in NI.
“We must remember this is not the king’s decision but the government who it appears are tone deaf.”
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told LBC radio: “Ursula von der Leyen is a very senior international representative. It is therefore not unusual as part of our hospitality to international guests to facilitate a meeting.
“It was our invitation for Ursula von der Leyen to come to the UK to finalise this deal with the prime minister. Of course that was a conversation we had with the palace. The final decision on the availability of his majesty is with the palace.”
Buckingham Palace said the king was acting on “the government’s advice”. Downing Street said it was “fundamentally” a decision for the king.
Ms von der Leyen said: “We discussed the joint challenges the EU and UK face as historic partners, and our joint duties: unwavering support for Ukraine and fighting global climate change.”