Sammy Wilson has urged Irish premier Leo Varadkar to consider whether he would “rather no deal than no backstop” after he met with Boris Johnson in Dublin.
The DUP Brexit spokesman told Matthew Wright he had “absolutely no doubt” the Irish government was to blame for stalled negotiations with the UK.
“What we do know is that no deal would be damaging to the Irish economy. They’re already concerned with the impact on the agri-food industry,” he said.
“I wouldn’t expect at this stage Leo Varadkar to say anything different than he’s been saying for the last three years, but I do think that the Irish have to think seriously about where their future lies.”
He added: “Don’t forget GB’s a bigger market for the Irish than the EU is.”
On Monday Mr Varadkar told the Prime Minister he wanted alternative solutions to the backstop, but he had yet to see any “legally workable” proposals from the UK.
Standing alongside the Irish leader, Mr Johnson said he believed it was still possible to reach a deal with the EU in time for the next EU summit on October 17 and 18.
“Strip away the politics and at the core of each problem you find practical issues that can be resolved with sufficient energy and a spirit of compromise,” he said.
Mr Wilson said the Prime Minister must be allowed to call a general election to break the Brexit impasse in Parliament.
“I think it’s essential for him to have an election to let the people decide - are they going to let the remainers in Parliament defy the people of the United Kingdom or are they going to give the Prime Minister the endorsement that he needs?” he said.