Labour MPs remarks about the IRA, Brexit, and a United Ireland face extremely strong criticism
"One of the most dishonest, inflammatory arguments uttered by any UK politician about Northern Ireland."
During a recent Leave Means Leave rally that was held in London, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Labour MP Kate Hoey, and the DUP's Sammy Wilson were the keynote speakers.
Farage told those in attendance to expect a second Brexit referendum within months because the British government will 'betray us completely'.
Rees-Mogg tried to outline how he believes Britain will prosper after Brexit. He said: "The EU takes away democracy. We want to leave because we can do things better ourselves. It's in our nation's hands to succeed. We are taking this wonderful, exciting, generational opportunity. It will make us stronger, more prosperous and more successful in generations to come. Taking back control is about doing things better, succeeding and prospering."
With regards to the Brexit and the backstop, the most incendiary and dangerous remarks were made by Labour MP Kate Hoey.
As you may know, her stance on Brexit and the border has produced some controversy before.
In February, she described the Good Friday Agreement as "unsustainable," a remark that Simon Coveney condemned as "not only irresponsible but reckless."
During her most recent speech, she said: "As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland and is very proud to be pro-Union, I feel very strongly about this. We didn't spend 30 years in Northern Ireland stopping IRA terrorists killing soldiers, police, and civilians, in order to get a United Ireland to allow a few jumped-up EU bureaucrats and a complicit prime minister to try and do the same thing by the back door."
Hoey adds: "Even more ridiculous is that it would not even be in the economic interests of Northern Ireland who depend so much of their trade, to and from Britain. Why is a British prime minister dancing to the tune of an Irish Taoiseach? There's no need for a hard border and there's no need for a backstop."
Steve Peers, Professor of EU, Human Rights & World Trade Law at the University of Essex, has called Hoey's remarks "one of the most dishonest, inflammatory arguments uttered by any UK politician about Northern Ireland."
With regards to the concept of a United Ireland, during a recent interview on Ireland Unfiltered, Leo Varadkar outlined his vision of what this would involve.
"I think, at the outset, a United Ireland worth having, is one whereby people are united, whereby everyone in the country would feel they're part of the country, a country in which nobody feels they've been left out and that's one thing I would always think when people talk about United Ireland in the traditional sense, bringing Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland together into a 32 county state," said Varadkar.
He adds: "I would not like to visit on unionists in Northern Ireland what, I believe, was visited on nationalists and Catholics in Northern Ireland - people feeling that this wasn't their state, that they weren't really part of it, that they were bounced into it or left in it against their will.
"That's why, notwithstanding the difficulties in the last year or two with Brexit, I always try to be very sensitive to that fact, that there is a different tradition on our island, a different nationality, people who feel themselves to be British, and they are British and we need to respect that, and I don't think if we ever had a United Ireland into the future that it could be just a bit like East Germany and West Germany - the Republic taking over the north."
Since Hoey's remarks were made, the Labour MP has faced some strong criticism.
Patrick Kielty responded by saying: "She's right. We didn't. We’ve spent 20 years building peace in Northern Ireland. Then seen a United Ireland become more possible thanks to a few jumped up Brexiteers who say they’re actually Unionists. You couldn’t make it up (so they do instead)."
She’s right. We didn’t. We’ve spent 20 years building peace in Northern Ireland. Then seen a United Ireland become more possible thanks to a few jumped up Brexiteers who say they’re actually Unionists. You couldn’t make it up (so they do instead) https://t.co/YfpIgMohUF
— Patrick Kielty (@PatricKielty) December 14, 2018
oh my god https://t.co/ehZ6EdqWtG
— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) December 15, 2018
One of the most dishonest, inflammatory arguments uttered by any UK politician about Northern Ireland in decades. https://t.co/Fp0yqqIZe3
— Steve Peers (@StevePeers) December 14, 2018
You can hear all of Hoey's statement at the 21:15 mark.
Kate Hoey. Leave Means Leavehttps://t.co/Yal79kEPgo
— novassalme (@novassalme) December 14, 2018