DUP holding firm as MPs plan to vote against Johnson's Brexit deal

DUP holding firm as MPs plan to vote against Johnson's Brexit deal
DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson

Additional reporting by Digital Desk Staff

Democratic Unionist Party MP Sammy Wilson said his party continues to hold firm and will vote against Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

The DUP Brexit spokesman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

“I can give you absolute assurance we will not be voting for this deal when it comes before the Commons tomorrow.”

He said voting for the Withdrawal Agreement would support “siphoning us off from the rest of the UK” and argued it would mean businesses in Northern Ireland incurring “additional costs and administrative burdens”.

Mr Wilson said the DUP made concessions with the British Prime Minister in order to help him get a deal but suspected he would do what was best for the Conservative Party.

“We are disappointed he didn’t stick to the red lines he said he would,” the DUP MP said.

He argued, in the interview with the BBC, that a successful election could help Mr Johnson get a better deal.

“I believe, with a big majority, he can be more robust in his negotiations,” Mr Wilson added.

“It is one of the reasons why we believe that voting this down tomorrow is not the end of the game but in fact probably opens up possibilities for the Government that are not available at present but will be after a general election.”

Mr Wilson said he suspected the EU were not able to give Mr Johnson as many concessions due to worries the PM was “vulnerable” in Parliament, following the success of the Benn Act.

Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP chief whip in Westminster said that the principal of consent is "absolutely crucial" to the party and that elements of consent in the Good Friday Agreement were threatened by the deal.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Donaldson said if there is a change in the relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic, it requires parallel consent and that "is not included in these proposals".

Mr Donaldson said that the implications go way beyond the question of Brexit, but go to the discussions to restore the political institutions in Stormont.

He said the DUP wants to avoid a no deal and referred to the Benn Act and the option to seek a further extension.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on BBC Breakfast that he thinks the deal is a “win, win, win” for the UK because “we take back control of our laws, our borders, our money”.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

He added that “it’s a cracking deal for Northern Ireland” because “not only are they staying part of the UK customs territory but they’ve got friction-less access to the single market”.

Asked whether they had given up trying to persuade the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) over the deal, he said they had “certainly not given up” on their DUP “friends” but the responsibility was on “setting up the deal and to argue for its benefits and its merits in relation to Northern Ireland”.

Later on in the programme, he said “those that want to criticise or to block this deal will be holding Britain back”.

More on this topic

Scottish MEP quits Brexit Party over ‘direct conflict’ of viewsScottish MEP quits Brexit Party over ‘direct conflict’ of views

ITV leaders’ debate will exclude views of Remain voters, High Court hearsITV leaders’ debate will exclude views of Remain voters, High Court hears

Boris Johnson pledges tax breaks to businessesBoris Johnson pledges tax breaks to businesses

Boris Johnson says his Brexit deal has backing of ‘all Tory election candidates’Boris Johnson says his Brexit deal has backing of ‘all Tory election candidates’