East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has hit out at calls for a second referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union.
The DUP man, an outspoken Brexit supporter, accused those calling for a re-run of last week’s historic vote of being “anti-democratic Europhiles”.
“The hysteria which has followed the decision by the people of the UK to leave the EU and the demand for a re-run of the referendum illustrates starkly the nature of the EU and its supporters,” he claimed. “They hate democracy and in their arrogance believe that their views are the only ones worth considering. During the referendum campaign they thought that by having important people lecture the populace about the consequences of leaving the EU, feeding them with incredible stories of disaster and worse and threatening them with ruin, they could beat the ordinary people into submission.
“Their fury since the historic decision to leave the EU is as much about their inability to control the people whose views they so despise as it is about our membership of the EU.”
Mr Wilson continued: “Over the next weeks we can be sure that in their fit of bad tempered pique all the elements of the rejected Euro political, business and media elite will pour out their bile on the people of this country with a continuation of scare stories, threats and selective news coverage. We have seen already the prominence given to the temporary fall in the value of the pound and the stock market, much of it brought on by the speculation and manipulation of the money markets by the big financial institutions which talked the market down, bought at low prices and made a killing by selling again when prices rose within a day. Yet the news agencies have said nothing about the rapid recovery of the markets. Prominence is being given to speculation of jobs being moved, and the breakup of the UK with no evidence that the threats are even capable of being carried out.
“The people have spoken. It is up to all who are democrats to act on their will whether they like it or not. Let’s have no more of doing down the country or risking a self induced recession just to prove a point. It is now essential to prepare for the negotiations of our exit from the EU. These should be approached with confidence and not as supplicants from some vassal state begging for lenient treatment from an all powerful master.”
Stressing the importance of the UK to the EU states in terms of trade and security, he added: “We have no cause to be fearful in our negotiations with the EU. The role of the government now should be to make sure we are prepared before we trigger any negotiations, show no sign of weakness as we enter those negotiations, that is why the ‘remainers’ must now accept the new political reality and in the meantime get on with governing the UK, making the day to day decisions to improve our economy and deal with the internal issues which confront us.”
Meanwhile, South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan, who campaigned for a ‘remain’ vote, expressed his disappointment at the result of the referendum, but stressed that the wishes of the people must be respected.
“I am extremely disappointed that the United Kingdom has decided to leave to European Union rather than work to build a European partnership that is better for everyone,” he said. “However, I am first and foremost a strong believer in the principles of democracy and in respecting the wishes of the people.
“Over the coming weeks and months we may face enormous challenges that will require calm heads and strong leadership.
“I was elected to represent all the people of South Antrim at Westminster and will ensure that, regardless of the challenges we may face, the best interests of the people of South Antrim, Northern Ireland and our United Kingdom are the focus of everything I do.”
His UUP colleague, Steve Aiken MLA claimed that the vote to leave the EU will have “a profound impact” on the economy, locally, nationally and globally.
“The drop in the value of sterling, while it may bring in cheaper prices for exports, has to be balanced against the significant increase in prices we will have to pay for imported goods like energy and food. The market instability, wiping over £200bn off the value of stocks puts the reality of our £8.5bn net contribution to the EU in stark context. The instability, confusion and lack of business confidence could, I am afraid, regrettably put us into a self-induced recession; a recession that will impact Northern Ireland more than any other region of the UK.
“We cannot know for certain all the impacts on our economy, but they will be many. The ‘black hole’ that has been created will have to be filled somehow. That means that over the next two years as we make the transition, funding for agriculture, welfare and the public sector economy will be cut back.
“The people of Northern Ireland expect our government - especially as we voted to remain - to take fast and effective action. We should be considering accelerating Corporation Tax reductions, reducing VAT on our hospitality sector, scrapping restrictive and expensive policies that have hiked energy prices to unacceptable levels, and immediately sorting out the £55m funding gap afflicting our universities. In short, we need to make ourselves competitive now,” he said.