East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, says as the Prime Minister sets out her Brexit timetable, the DUP are busy pouring champagne.
Mr Dickson was speaking after it emerged the DUP was sponsoring a champagne reception at the Conservative Party Conference said: “This champagne reception for Conservative Party conference delegates, sponsored by the DUP, is a clear sign that not only has the leadership changed its attitude to alcohol, but has got its priorities wrong.
“As the Prime Minister makes public her timescale for triggering Brexit, it is of great concern that while the DUP is sipping champagne in Birmingham, the people of Northern Ireland have been given no idea from the Executive of the likely impact on us when we leave the EU. How will our economy fare? What border arrangements will be in place? Never mind, just pour another glass of bubbly, which seems to be the DUP approach.
“Additionally, it is damning, that a week after DUP Communities Minister Paul Givan introduced legislation on alcohol licensing, the DUP are hosting a champagne reception. The proposed legislation has been slated by the hospitality sector as not going far enough to address the needs of the industry. It is estimated that £16 million is lost over the Easter period alone due to strict alcohol legislation, which the DUP has refused to substantially amend in the proposed Bill.
“The DUP feels it knows best for the Northern Irish people, while not holding themselves to the same standards when in England.
“It is interesting that alcohol, which was previously criticised as the ‘devil’s buttermilk’ and blamed for all manner of societal problems, is now accepted to oil the political wheels. It is time the DUP put the people of Northern Ireland ahead of their own political ambitions and also set out their Brexit plan.”