Gregory Campbell and TUV in spat over weakening unionism as Reform UK vows to 'dispose' of DUP

DUP MP Gregory Campbell
-Credit: (Image: PA)


A DUP MP and has become involved in a spat with the TUV after he accused the party of "weakening unionism".

It came after an attack on the DUP from the deputy leader of Reform UK – whom the TUV have a partnered with for the upcoming UK General Election.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said there is little point in some Unionists campaigning to strengthen the Union whilst simultaneously attacking and weakening unionism. His remarks follow comments from Reform UK’s Ben Habib who said he wants to “dispose” of the DUP and give them a bloody nose.

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“Elections are the essence of our democratic process, and they offer people a choice as to who will represent them. In Northern Ireland there is a clear choice between those who will take up their seats in our national Parliament and seek to make Northern Ireland work within the United Kingdom, and those who sit outside Parliament and work to weaken Northern Ireland," Gregory Campbell said.

"Ben Habib will regularly point out the need to strengthen and secure Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom. That damage was inflicted by the Northern Ireland Protocol which we warned Mr Habib about, despite that he was in favour of it and voted for it. However, he is right that we should work to repair that damage. We are doing that while Ben complains about it. Such a task however is pointless if you are simultaneously working to weaken and degrade unionism from within.

"His comments implicitly seek to remove pro-Union representation in Parliament. That is the very definition of a self-inflicted wound and one which can only benefit those who wish to see unionism divided and diminished.

"As he offers to be the paymaster for unionist division in the TUV, we remain focused on moving Northern Ireland forward. Such attempts to deflect only highlight the absence of any strategy from those who pour such venom on the Democratic Unionist Party.”

Responding to Mr Campbell's comments, TUV vice chairman Allister Kyle accused the MP of "dividing the United Kingdom".

“Having destroyed Unionist unity by binning the united Unionist Declaration of Ulster Day 2021, in which all Unionist leaders pledged that it was their 'unalterable position that the Protocol must be rejected and replaced by arrangements which fully respect Northern Ireland’s position as a constituent and integral part of the United Kingdom', it’s a bit rich for Gregory Campbell to bemoan the divisions within Unionism and blame others," said Mr Kyle.

“The fundamental point that Mr Campbell, who received a CBE in the immediate aftermath of the DUP deal which destroyed Unionist unity, ignores is that you can’t strengthen the Union by dividing the United Kingdom. Remember this is the same Mr Campbell who hailed the Safeguarding the Union paper as a great achievement by his party.

“Since then, we have had a judgement by the High Court exposing the fact that Northern Ireland must maintain an open-door policy to migrants because EU law, not UK law, is supreme in Northern Ireland."

Allister Kyle pointed out: "Article Six of the Acts of Union remains suspended, meaning that our ability to trade freely with the rest of the UK is no more. We know that border posts between Northern Ireland and Great Britain continue to be built.

“Yet none of that bothers Mr Campbell. He is merely interested in attacking friends of Unionism in GB. Not so long ago, DUP politicians were positively keen to be on the same platform as Ben Habib, Baroness Hoey and yes, even Jim Allister.

“It isn’t TUV or Reform UK who changed their position on the Sea Border which divides our country.

“You can't strengthen the Union by dividing the United Kingdom.”

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