An MP from Northern Ireland’s biggest pro-UK party has condemned Joe Biden after the US president made controversial remarks about his recent visit to the territory.
Biden said the purpose of his trip last month was “to make sure … the Brits are not messing around” with peace in Northern Ireland, and “not walking away from their commitments”.
The comments, relayed in a White House transcript, came as Biden spoke at a Democratic party gathering in New York on Wednesday.
He visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, which ended three decades of violence in the UK province.
During the visit, Democratic Unionist party (DUP) MP Sammy Wilson accused the Irish-American president of being “anti-British”, and he was angered by the latest intervention.
“If you believe there should be a special relationship between the US and the UK, then at least show us some respect,” Wilson told London’s Evening Standard newspaper on Thursday.
“It’s unbelievable and also scary to think that this is the man who leads the free world.”
The DUP, which wants Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK, is currently boycotting the regional power-sharing government because of bitter disagreements over post-Brexit trade.
A renegotiation of the EU and UK’s trade protocol – branded the Windsor framework – is largely aimed at ameliorating unionist concerns but the deal has so far been rejected by the DUP.
Asked about Biden’s comments, a spokesman for the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, said the framework was “a culmination of important work between the UK and the EU”.
“And at the heart of this the UK’s priority will always be to protect the Good Friday Agreement.”
During his visit to Ireland, Biden also congratulated an Irish rugby player – a distant relative – who he said “beat the hell out of the Black and Tans”.
Biden was referring to the All Blacks rugby team in New Zealand. The Black and Tans were a prominent British force that sought to suppress Irish independence fighters in the early 1920s.