DUP MP booed at rally against Northern Ireland protocol


A senior DUP MP was loudly booed and mocked as he addressed a loyalist rally against Northern Ireland Protocol.

Sammy Wilson was repeatedly interrupted as he attempted to deliver a speech at the event at Markethill in County Armagh.

In his address, Mr Wilson compared the EU’s handling of Northern Ireland in the Brexit process to Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea to Ukraine.

However, his comments were often drowned out as angry crowd members accused his party of botching the Brexit process.

Despite the blizzard conditions, thousands of people attended the rally, with dozens of groups.

At one point in Mr Wilson’s speech, the leader of the traditional Unionist voice, Jim Allister, intervened and called on those present to listen to him.

Mr. Allister urged the crowd to listen to the speakers.

He added: “I ask you to listen to the speeches. You will have the opportunity to express yourself at the polls, but tonight it is important that we listen to all trade union voices.

“The people who are here are those who oppose the protocol.

“Let’s respect that and listen to what Sammy and the others have to say.

Mr. Wilson thanked Mr. Allister and told the crowd: “We are on the same side.

“Jim and I fought against protocol together. We fought against the imposition of protocol.

“We didn’t implement the protocol, the UK government brought in the protocol and implemented it.”

The event came on a day when Mr Allister raised concerns that the DUP was softening its line on protocol and was willing to agree to arrangements that still treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK. United.

Mr. Wilson stressed the need for trade unionists to work together to oppose the protocol.

He accused Brussels of annexing the region through the Irish Sea trade deals required by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should oppose the EU’s stance on Northern Ireland as much as he opposes the Russian president’s tactics in Ukraine.

A loyalist protest against Northern Ireland protocol in Markethill, Co Armagh
A loyalist protest against Northern Ireland Protocol in Markethill, Co Armagh (Cate McCurry/PA)

Russia annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine in 2014 and has gathered tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border in recent weeks, amid international fears that Mr Putin is about to launch a full-scale military invasion.

“The Irish Sea border imposes the will of the nationalists on the trade unionists,” Mr Wilson said.

“It destroys the principle of cross-community consent, undermines the Acts of Union and breaches constitutional settlement in Northern Ireland.

“Through the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU is effectively annexing Northern Ireland just as much as President Putin has already annexed part of Ukraine and seeks to further undermine that country’s independence.”

The protocol created new economic barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Sammy Wilson (left) and TUV chief Jim Allister (right) at the rally (Cate McCurry/PA)

Accepted by the UK and the EU to ensure that the Irish land border is not hardened after Brexit, it has instead moved regulatory and customs controls to the Irish Sea, with Northern Ireland remaining in the single market EU goods. The region also applies the EU customs code in its ports.

Unionists and loyalists say the arrangements undermined UK sovereignty, but a majority of Stormont Assembly members support the protocol, saying it offers Northern Ireland some protection against the negative economic consequences of Brexit.

The EU and UK continue to negotiate with the aim of agreeing on a way to reduce the bureaucracy associated with the protocol.

There has been more focus on whether a deal would retain the element of the protocol that allows traders in Northern Ireland to sell freely within the UK internal market and the EU single market – the so- calling it “best of both worlds” dual market access.

Mr Wilson said: “Boris Johnson has rightly led the campaign to prevent Putin from undermining the democratic wishes of the Ukrainian people, and he has an even greater responsibility as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to prevent annexation. of Northern Ireland by Brussels by revoking the NI Protocol.

“Make no doubt, while the protocol harms the economy of Northern Ireland, even more fundamentally, it separates us from the country we belong to, it undermines democracy and imposes foreign rules in this part of the Kingdom. -United.”

Mr Allister also addressed the rally, saying the issue of protocol could not be ‘rigged’.

“Foreign sovereignty over any part of the United Kingdom is incompatible with being an integral part of that kingdom,” he said.

“So any ‘landing ground’ that leaves us annexed to the EU single market is not ‘the best of both worlds’, but keeps us firmly in the EU world, with Britain being designated as a ‘third country’, while we are subject to the laws and jurisdiction of the European Union Such is a non-starter.

“Any vague thought that you can be part of the EU’s single market and be subject to its customs code while not being subject to its sovereignty is a dangerous illusion.

“So any acceptable way forward requires the EU to relinquish its ill-gotten sovereignty over Northern Ireland.

“There can be no compromise on this constitutional imperative. This is not a question to dodge or dither and those who do lose the right to expect transfers from anti-protocol trade unionists (during assembly elections).