Has the DUP taken their first public steps to back a Brexit?

Sammy Wilson issued an interesting press release today highlighting his attendance at Leave EU event and even had his picture taken with the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage. IMG_0091

Speaking after the event the East Antrim MP set out his reasoning for why he wants to leave the EU;

It is evident from the pathetic demand for minimal changes to the terms of our membership of the EU, that the Prime Minister was not serious about ensuring that the UK got a better deal from Europe and the only course of action was to negotiate a relationship which fell short of EU membership.

We need to have control over our own destiny, to determine our own laws and to protect businesses and families from the financial burdens imposed by the EU membership.

Currently 65 per cent of our laws are made and imposed from the EU commission with no accountability. Our membership costs this country £12bn each year, and we have a trade deficit with Europe of over £70bn at the same time we are prevented from making our own trade agreements with those countries in the world which are growing and are tied to the trade policies of the stagnating European economies.

It is time for a change. We can have the best of both worlds, access to the European market but freedom to determine our own laws and trading arrangements. There are those who argue that being outside the E U would disadvantage us economically. They said the same thing about our decision not to joint the Eurozone. They were wrong on that issue and they are equally wrong on the question of EU membership.

Given the determination of the majority of EU institutions and the heads of the major states in Europe to forge a federal Europe in which all countries would be corralled into a one size fits all Europe superstate, the U.K. would be better off out.

An important health warning comes here, Sammy is known to be much more strident on the European issue within the DUP and the party still has not made a formal decision about whether it will back a vote to stay or go.

My understanding is that the party are no fans of the EU, but the devil will be in the detail of what Cameron brings back from his renegotiation.

Page 16 of DUP Westminster Manifesto 2015

If you’re wondering, the stated DUP party policy remains at the moment, the same as that set out in their 2015 Westminster manifesto.


David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs