Brexit: Westminster has 'appeased' EU warns Ben Habib
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A leading Brexiteer has accused members of Rishi Sunak’s Government of aiding the “surrender” of Northern Ireland to the European Union. Ministers have also been scolded for backing Irish nationalists over the impasse at Stormont.
Northern Ireland’s parliament has not functioned since February, with the pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) blocking the formation of the ruling executive due to concerns over the NI Protocol.
UK Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris had threatened to call an assembly election should power-sharing not have been restored by the end of October.
The deadline passed with no change in the political situation, but the Government stepped down on its claim, pointing to people’s “sincere concerns about the impact and cost of an election at this time”.
But ministers have not stopped pushing the DUP to help restore Stormont, with Northern Ireland Office Minister Steve Baker late last month urging politicians to “get on with it”.
Ben Habib argued this appeared to suggest key members of the Government had laid down their Brexit credentials and converted to “Irish nationalism”.
The former Brexit Party MEP told Express.co.uk: “Mr Heaton-Harris and Mr Baker have converted from being Brexiteers to Irish nationalists.
“Heaton-Harris keeps berating the DUP for not re-forming Stormont. He [threatened] to call elections unless the DUP immediately comes to heel.
“It is lost on him that it is not the restoration of Stormont which is required; it is the restoration of Northern Ireland to its rightful within the United Kingdom.”
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DUP MP Sammy Wilson also criticised Mr Baker as being “in no place to preach to the DUP or any other party”.
He added: “The only thing consistent about his position is his inconsistency.”
Beyond disputes over the reforming of Stormont, Mr Habib lamented the “surrender” of Northern Ireland to Brussels thanks, largely, to the Protocol.
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Having previously told Express.co.uk that UK-EU talks over the post-Brexit deal are “pointless”, given that Brussels negotiator Maros Sefcovic “has a mandate only to tinker at the edges of the Protocol”, the businessman added our Government will not be viewed favourably in this country when the historians of the future look back on today.
Mr Habib said: “When this period of British history is related, the surrender of Northern Ireland to the EU without a single shot being fired, will be written up as an act of utter constitutional vandalism.
“To the long list of British politicians responsible for that surrender will now be added the names of [Prime Minister Rishi] Sunak, [Foreign Secretary James] Cleverly, Heaton-Harris and Baker.”
The Government is continuing to work towards a negotiated settlement with the EU on the Protocol, with more talks expected soon.
Mr Heaton-Harris also this morning said he will name a date for an Assembly election in the coming months, with a statement in Parliament due next week.
Express.co.uk has approached the Government’s Northern Ireland Office for comment.
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