Northern Ireland

Brexit: DUP member speaks out over party's policy

David Cather
Image caption David Cather said he 'suspects' some big names in the DUP may not be in favour of leaving the European Union

Pro-Brexit members of the DUP have been given too much control over the party's approach, a former constituency association chairman has said.

David Cather said he thought there was meant to be a "broad church" of views within the party.

"I think that the people who really want to leave have been given too much control over the direction," he said.

Mr Cather said it had been a "frustrating couple of years to be in the party".

"When we announced our position on the referendum, the leader's statement very much sounded like we were going to be a broad church and there would be different opinions within the party," he told Good Morning Ulster.

"That never really materialised and suddenly we ended up taking out [pro-Brexit] adverts in London."

During the EU referendum campaign, the DUP took out a wraparound ad in the Metro newspaper asking voters to "take back control".

Mr Cather, a former chairman of south Belfast DUP, who remains a party member, also said he thought the UK should stay in the customs union.

"I think there's a natural majority in the House of Commons for a customs union deal and that gets rid of the problem of having a border either down the Irish Sea or at Newry and Strabane," he said.

Mr Cather said he was not in favour of overturning the referendum result and was not in favour of a second referendum "at the moment".

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"But, I would reserve the right to call for it if Parliament can't sort it out," he added.

Mr Cather said Prime Minister Theresa May seemed to be "running the clock down towards a black and white choice" between her deal and no deal.

He said a no deal was the worst-case scenario but "the backstop's not a good deal either".

He said he believed it was still possible to be a member of a party and not agree on everything:

"It's an issue that will pass. We won't always be talking about Brexit."

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