Brexit news: David Trimble warned Northern Ireland could become an EU 'protectorate' (Image: GETTY IMAGES)
The former first minister of Northern Ireland, who was awarded the prestigious accolade for his part in the peace process, said there is a “genuine risk” the territory could be cut off from the rest of the UK after the split.
Lord Trimble blasted Leo Varadkar’s government for “riding roughshod” over the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and accused Dublin of making demands which “go well beyond the avoidance of a hard border”.
And he warned if the UK agrees to Brussels’ terms for the border ‘backstop’ after Brexit, Northern Ireland could end up as an “effective EU protectorate” without politicians in Belfast having any say at all.
The former Ulster Unionist Party leader, now a Tory peer, weighed into the debate with the stark warning in a foreword to a new report by the Policy Exchange think tank.
Brexit talks are at an impasse over the Irish border with the UK and EU agreeing to the need for a ‘backstop’ safety net to avoid a hard border in the event of no deal, but both sides at loggerheads over how this should be achieved.
Brussels has proposed keeping Northern Ireland inside the customs union to avoid the need for border checks, while Theresa May is pushing for a solution which would see the whole UK remain in.
Lord Trimble warned if the Prime Minister caves to the EU’s demands, the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement - which was crucial in ending much of the sectarian violence once seen in Northern Ireland - would be at risk.
He said: "It is clear to me that the Irish side in the Brexit negotiations is undermining the