Sammy Wilson said,
“I was one of the first people to arrive at Markethill and I was amongst the last to leave. I walked the parade route before and after the speeches. People were craving unionist unity in opposition to the Protocol. They welcomed our decision to remove the First Minister until the Irish Sea Border is removed.
Sadly the media headlines do not reflect this. They report unionist disunity.
This only serves the purposes of our political opponents who want to portray unionist opposition to the protocol as dysfunctional and divided.
Some in loyalism seem intent on manufacturing disunity where none exists. They tried and failed in Dromore. They succeeded in Markethill, thus completely undermining the strong message the organisers wanted to send out.
Whilst Jim Allister appealed for respect, it came after he spent 10 minutes on the platform whipping up an anti-DUP sentiment in a blatant act of electioneering. Whilst Sir Jeffrey has sought to work with every hue of unionism, whether he always agrees with them or not, to get a united front and common cause against the Protocol, it seems Jim is only interested in using the Protocol to promote his and his party’s narrow electoral interests. Unionism is ill-served at this time by such division. Regardless of how some may try to hijack opposition to the Protocol, the DUP will focus on harnessing all unionist energies to ensure the Protocol is removed.
Does Jim want a united opposition to the protocol or not? Does he see these rallies as an opportunity to present a united front or simply to attack others sharing the platform with him?
We stand for unionists working together, standing together, speaking together against the Protocol.
Shows of disunity will hearten Brussels and undermine the cause we seek to advance.”