Ulster Unionist Party MLA Steve Aiken has branded Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson “a convicted terrorist turned political chancer” following suggestions in a news report that she represents the majority of Northern Ireland voters who backed Remain in the Brexit referendum.
In an interview with ITV News about Brexit and the Irish border issue, Ms Anderson criticised the DUP, stressing that “it doesn’t represent the majority of the views of the people in the North, nor does it represent the majority of public opinion.”
The accompanying report says “Ms Anderson believes she represents the majority of voters who backed Remain in the Brexit referendum when she says Sinn Fein have been ‘arguing for the backstop since the referendum’...”
The suggestion that the convicted IRA bomber represents those who voted Remain in Northern Ireland sparked an angry reaction from Mr Aiken OBE – a former Royal Navy submarine commander who was elected an MLA for South Antrim in 2016.
Rubbishing the suggestion that the Sinn Fein MEP speaks for Northern Ireland’s Remain voters, the UUP’s chief whip said: “Martina Anderson certainly doesn’t speak for me or other unionists who voted Remain in the Brexit referendum.
“Mrs Anderson is a convicted terrorist turned political chancer. She can keep repeating her well worn lines all she likes, but no matter how many times she repeats Sinn Fein propaganda, it still doesn’t make it true.”
Hitting back at Mr Aiken’s remarks, a Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “Perhaps Steve Aiken has been looking down the wrong end of his periscope because Martina Anderson was overwhelmingly endorsed by 160,000 voters in the European election while the people of the North voted to remain in the EU referendum.”