A former Brexit Party MEP has played into his political opponents’ hands in the most embarrassing way.
He said: “The cause of the violence is not Brexit, the cause of the violence is the Northern Irish Protocol.”
His comments come amid protests about the Protocol, which puts a de facto border in the Irish sea between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, and places checks on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland.
Despite Habib’s doubts, the policy is undeniably linked to Brexit. During the Brexit negotiations, Remain supporters expressed concerns that frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was needed to ensure peace between the two was maintained. At the time, Brexiteers dismissed these concerns.
Now, there has been violence on a near-nightly basis in a number of cities including Belfast since 29 March, causing 90 police officers to be injured.
And predictably, people on Twitter were quick to point out the problem with Habib’s comments:
Oops. We think this will be the last time for a while that Habib is sent out from the barracks to defend Brexit.