East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has dismissed claims that trade would be hit if the UK votes to leave the European Union.
Speaking at the Larne Business Awards gala presentation dinner last night, the former Finance Minister offered assurances that trade would go on in the event of a Brexit.
He told the audience at Ballygally Castle Hotel that people in his constituency had a “genuine desire” to understand the implications of the decision they have to make in the referendum on June 23.
The DUP representative, who has been a vocal proponent of the Leave campaign, added: “I think rather naively some people want certainty about the future. I think it would be dishonest if I were not to say this to you tonight. It really doesn’t matter which side of the debate you are on, or what political shade you come from. There are some things in this discussion that no politician or expert or commentator can give certainty about, because we can never be certain about the future.”
With broadcaster Barra Best compering the event, Mr Wilson joked: “The only people who are worse at predicting the future than economists are weather forecasters”.
But he added: “One thing I do know with certainty, and those of you who are in business will understand this – trade will still go on, regardless if there are trade deals or not.
“I taught economics for many years and that is one of the things I used to teach youngsters; the theory of trade. We trade with America at present, £67 billion worth of goods every year, and we don’t have trade deal with them at present.”
Mr Wilson said the essence of good government was the ability to replace politicians who do not deliver on their promises.
He added: “You elect people like me and expect something from us. At the end of the day if we don’t deliver, you have option every five years to say ‘Sammy Wilson made promises, he didn’t keep them, he made a mess of things because his decisions and his judgement was wrong, and now I’m going to replace him’.
“The real question is do you get that kind of government by having control of your own affairs, through your own elected institutions? Or is it better to leave it in the hands of bureaucrats, who are lobbied by big business and other interest groups and then feed directives through to unelected commissioners, which then in many cases become part of national law without any discussion.”