UK HOME Secretary Sajid Javid has come in for strong criticism after branding Ireland “the tail that wags the dog” when it comes to the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Speaking during an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show, Javid suggested it was possible to get a better deal on Brexit with a different arrangement on the "Northern Irish backstop".
The Home Secretary’s assertions came despite several statements from politicians in Ireland and the European Union that run to the contrary.
"What I would do is focus on the one Brexit deal that has already got through Parliament, and that was the Withdrawal Agreement with the change to the backstop," he told Marr.
"It's the only thing that's got through Parliament... I would try and renegotiate the backstop. And what I would do in doing that, is focus on Ireland.
"I think Ireland is the absolute key to all of this. You could sort of say it's the tail that wags the dog on this, and we need to make sure that we can do more to build that goodwill with Ireland, to give them more confidence."
This interview with Sajid Javid MP (& potential PM) is absolutely outrageous in my opinion. Sajid, it is not about Ireland not wanting to pay the costs of a border: it is about no border. Ignorant & disappointing interview, but worse - vague: https://t.co/cqGeYprwMH #Brexit
— Darragh O'Neill (@CelbridgePrince) June 3, 2019
Javid is in the running to replace Theresa May as leader of the Tory Party and the government – but his comments have courted major criticism.
“In one sentence Sajid Javid refers to Ireland as ‘the tail that wags the dog’ & the need to build goodwill & confidence in Ireland,” BBC NI Economics & Business Editor John Campbell tweeted. "Just tremendous diplomacy."
Virgin Media News reporter Richard Chambers, meanwhile, sarcastically branded Javid a “Diplomatic wunderkind.”
Writer James Cotter also reflected: “This is a throwback to the language used by Uk politicians about the Irish in the 18th and 19th century.
“The tail that wags the dog me arse. We're no part of your dog.”
Irish lecturer Dr Alan Greene summed up Javid’s comments thusly: “When you no longer have an empire but you still have an empire state of mind.”