A jubilant Sammy Wilson says that he is “overjoyed” that the UK has voted to leave the EU, despite 56 per cent of Northern Ireland voters opting to remain.
The East Antrim DUP MLA told the Times that he was “very pleased” that his constituency had supported the his party’s Brexit message when it went to the polls.
“55 per cent of those who voted in East Antrim voted to leave, while 45 per cent voted to remain,” he stated.
“I’m pleased that the message that I had been putting out to get out of the EU has been accepted by my own constituents and I look forward to the benefits of renegotiating our position to businesses, farmers, workers and tax payers in East Antrim.”
The Brexit supporter said that despite a majority of Northern Ireland voters opting to remain in the EU, the overall UK decision to opt out had to be respected.
“We have to accept democracy, everyone had the same vote and if it had been remain I would have accepted that,” he said.
“It’s not all that different from a general election; people here didn’t vote for the Conservatives but that doesn’t make their rule any less legitimate because it was a UK election.
“People might not like it but they have to live with it. These are the consequences of the rule of democracy.”
Since the Brexit vote emerged, the pound has fallen sharply, and at one stage was down 10 per cent to its lowest level since 1985.
Despite fears of higher inflation and import prices, Mr Wilson described the fall as “good news for local manufacturing.”
“I wouldn’t read too much into short term fluctuations in the value of currency,” he continued.
“Many of the biggest sellers had expected and built into their decisions that Britain would stay in the EU, so after it voted to leave they had to make a rapid adjustment.
“The market will adjust back and the Bank of England will intervene to calm the situation.
“In two to three weeks’ time I imagine we will see the real value of the pound.
“The low value of the pound is not necessarily a bad thing for farmers and for industry.
“For companies like Caterpillar they will be able to be more competitive when selling to sites that deal in dollars, and for manufacturers like Schreider and Ryobi the fall in the pound’s value will have benefits for them and their work force.
“But it is a bad thing if you’re going on holidays or for those with pensions,” he admitted.
Reacting to the London Stock Exchange’s eight per cent fall, Mr Wilson said that the long-term viability and profitability of businesses would stabilise the market.
“Two weeks ago the stock market fell by three per cent and within a week it had been restored and gone higher,” he stated.
“I think it depends on how quickly we get onto a footing and have a plan for getting the UK disentangled from the EU.”
Mr Wilson also described David Cameron’s announcement that he would step down as Prime Minister by October as “probably the right decision.”
“He had staked so much of his own reputation and credibility on remaining and engaged in a fairly bitter campaign and alienated a lot of supporters in his own party,” he said.
“They would have found it difficult to work together.
“He had already had a go at negotiating with the EU and had got very little, most people don’t think his heart would have been in any leave negotiations.”