Commenting after addressing an anti-Protocol demonstration in Markethill on Friday evening, Mr Wilson said:
“The Irish Sea border imposes the will of nationalists on unionists. It trashes the principle of cross-community consent, undermines the Acts of Union and breaches the constitutional settlement in Northern Ireland. Through the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU, in effect, is annexing Northern Ireland just as much as President Putin has already annexed part of Ukraine and is seeking to undermine that country’s independence further.
Boris Johnson has rightly led the campaign to stop Vladimir Putin undermining the democratic wishes of the people of Ukraine and he has an even greater responsibility as the Prime Minister of the UK to prevent the annexation of NI by Brussels by revoking the NI Protocol. Make no doubt about it, whilst the Protocol damages the economy of Northern Ireland, even more fundamentally, it divides us from the country to which we belong, it undermines democracy and imposes foreign rules in this part of the UK.
The threat is so grave, it leaves no room for unionists to point score against each other, to undermine the morale of the unionist population by divisive tactics and words and it would be the worst disservice any unionist politician could do to make political capital out of this constitutional danger.
The deliberate denigration of Unionism by the EU and their cheerleaders will have lasting consequences for stability in Northern Ireland. However, it is also arguably the Protocol’s greatest weakness.
Not a single unionist elected representative supports the Irish Sea border. Not a single local unionist politician voted for the Withdrawal Agreement. Almost every shade of Unionism is committed to clear and decisive action. Action which defends our interests and places the full restoration of Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom front and centre.
We can draw huge encouragement from the fact that there is a common direction of travel. Only through maximum, visible and vocal cooperation within Unionism can the plans to impose the Protocol in perpetuity within our communities be thwarted. Only by standing shoulder to shoulder can we demand respect and restore fairness for the people that we represent.
The interests of our cause will not be served by pointing the finger at each other. This will simply let the rigorous implementers off the hook. We will not remove the border within our own country by putting up barricades within the Unionist family.
While Unionism might be leading the fightback against the Protocol, businesses and families from all sectors and traditions are losing out because of disruption to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Others want to downplay these issues but they are costing £2.5m every day. That’s £100,000 every hour, money which could be better spent supporting family budgets or boosting business.
Therefore, the success of Unionism’s campaign against the Protocol will not just be measured by arrangements which restore the benefits and benefits of our place in the United Kingdom. Those arrangements must represent a fair deal for every community, repair our economy and politics and provide a platform to build a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”