A Tory Brexiteer has been accused of throwing the DUP under a bus just 24 hours after he claimed the Brexit deal breached the Good Friday Agreement.
Andrew Bridgen appeared on Channel 4 News after the Brexit deal was announced by Boris Johnson. Immediately after the announcement the DUP had announced their objections, but the Brexiteer and ERG member denied he was losing any patience with the unionist allies.
He said: “If the DUP can’t support the deal that the prime minister brings back that he hasn’t effectively got the support of both communities in Northern Ireland, and that’s in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Bridgen said he wanted to see the full detail before announcing if he would side with the DUP, but said: “If the DUP can’t support it, it makes it much more difficult for me to support.”
However, 24 hours later Bridgen was on Channel 4 News again, this time praising the deal.
He said: “It looks like Brexit, it smells like Brexit, that’s Brexit to me and I’m willing to suck up quite a lot on the Withdrawal Agreement I don’t like to facilitate getting to Brexit.”
“Including abandoning the DUP, who you said you would stand by?” asked presenter Jon Snow.
Bridgen responded: “I’m very disappointed my colleagues in the DUP at the moment can’t support Boris Johnson’s new deal. I am hoping negotiations continue so they change position.”
Snow pointed out that their position has been consistent – that they do not want a border in the Irish sea.
But the Brexiteer dismissed their concerns, stating: “I’ve got to make a decision that I believe is in the interests of the whole of the UK. Quite often we’ve heard the phrase that ‘Ulster says no’, I think on this occasion Northern Ireland says yes.”
Shortly after the vote, Bridgen defended the move from the ERG to part ways with the DUP.
He told Newsnight: “It’s been said we’ve thrown the DUP under a bus. They just didn’t get on our bus this time.”