The DUP’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson has said that “no one believes the Prime Minister” over her Brexit promises, but the party would still vote to back Theresa May in the event of a no confidence vote.
Mr Wilson said that, if the deal is voted down on December 11, there would be “no cause to bring the government down on that basis”, but that support would be withdrawn “if the Prime Minister or the government continues to try and pursue the same route set out in this agreement”.
- Read more: Theresa May's Brexit deal is a 'double-cross', says DUP Brexit spokesman
- Read more: Theresa May accused of allowing EU to use Irish backstop as a ‘negotiating ploy’
Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer on the talkRADIO breakfast show, Mr Wilson reiterated that the DUP do not support Mrs May’s deal.
Legal advice on the agreement from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was released yesterday, that confirmed it would keep the UK and Northern Ireland in a customs union with the EU, but they would be treated as separate countries for administrative purposes.
'Is it the best deal available?'
An anti-Brexit sign on the Irish border. Image: Getty
“No MP will be happy to go back to their constituents and tell them that if this agreement goes through, you’ll have to regard the rest of the UK as a third country, that you’ll be subject to another administration, i.e. Brussels, dictating over 300 areas of policy in your own constituency with no say over any of those laws now or in the future,” said Mr Wilson.
“And no ability to participate in future trade deals.
- Read more: Brexit legal advice: What does it say, how does the backstop work and would Theresa May's deal keep the UK aligned to the EU?
- Read more: Legal advice confirms backstop will keep the UK in a customs union - but what is a customs union?
“No MP would ever tolerate that for their own area yet that is what this agreement was going to impose on Northern Ireland if it goes through.”
“You can see it’s a bad deal, I can see it’s a bad deal, yet the Prime Minister is standing on the floor of the House saying it’s the best deal available. Is it the best deal available?” asked Hartley-Brewer.
“No it’s not. No one believes the Prime Minister any longer,” Mr Wilson replied.
“They couldn’t possibly believe the Prime Minister when such a devastating commentary on this agreement has been given by her own legal officer.”
'We should not fear no deal'
If the deal is voted down, he said, Mrs May should return to Brussels and “stand up for Britain”.
Hartley-Brewer asked why, if the DUP’s position was clear, they’d back Mrs May in a vote of no confidence.
“If this deal is defeated next Tuesday, the immediate threat of the break up of the United Kingdom and the damage to Northern Ireland will have been removed, therefore we will have no cause to bring the government down on that basis,” Mr Wilson explained.
“But if the Prime Minister or the government continues to try and pursue the same route set out in this agreement, they will not have our support.”
If the government did collapse over the deal, the DUP would rather “take a risk with a general election,” he said.
He added: “No deal is not a catastrophe, it would allow us to trade on World Trade Organisation terms.
“We do that with the rest of the world and we do it very well. Why should we fear having to move to WTO terms? We should probably welcome that.”