The host of Question Time asked Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis about how the country will fare in Brexit, with the minister highlighting how it enjoys a unique trade status. Under the Brexit trade deal, Northern Ireland remains part of the EU’s single market, allowing it to trade without restrictions with the rest of the trading bloc, as well as remaining part of the UK. However, social media users were unhappy Mr Lewis’ comments about the single market “opportunity” were “ignored”, and claimed it showed the BBC’s “bias”.
Mr Lewis claimed Northern Ireland has a “unique competitive advantage” because of its twin status as part of the UK and the EU single market.
He said: “The protocol means that as part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland is going to have this unique competitive advantage in the world, in the sense that Northern Ireland will be able to trade in and as part of the United Kingdom, as well as through the single market with the EU.
“That’s going to mean, if you’re a business who deals with the UK and a business who deals with the EU, the place to invest and grow your business is in Northern Ireland.”
After Ms Bruce flagged Northern Ireland’s single market access and alignment with EU regulations would “push them a little closer to Dublin”, Mr Lewis added: “No because you have unfettered access from Northern into Great Britain as well, so you got that ability to trade both ways.
“I think that gives Northern Ireland a competitive advantage and a huge opportunity.”
READ MORE: QT audience member fires back at remainers anti-Brexit ‘hype’ – ‘Industry hasn’t stopped!’
It comes after Sammy Wilson, Democratic Unionist Party MP from East Antrim, penned an article claiming the BBC’s “bias is plain for all to see”.
Following Kevin MacQuarrie being appointed as anti-bias guru on a salary of £325,000 a year, he said: “Why on earth anyone needs to be paid anything to unearth bias in the BBC is a mystery.
“The organisation’s bias is plain for all to see — it is anti-Brexit, anti-unionist and anti-Christian.
“Most of their presenters cannot hide their bias through the content of the programmes, the way they question those who the BBC despise and the imbalance in the commentators who they employ to give opinions on the issues which they report.”
It also comes after Mr Lewis was criticised for blaming issues with food supply in Northern Ireland on coronavirus rather than Brexit.
Edwin Poots, DUP Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs, rubbished the claims and said: “Brandon Lewis is clearly going about like the emperor with no clothes; however, it is not a small boy who is pointing it out, but the entire crowd.
“He really needs to reflect on that. It is not a good policy to go about saying something that is blatantly not the case.”