Tory MP accused of acting like ‘colonial ruler’ by DUP after Welsh language post
A Tory MP who pointed to the Welsh language as an example Westminster could follow in legislating for an Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland has been accused of a “colonial” mindset by the DUP.
Simon Hoare, the Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, said that he would vote for an Irish Language Act as a Welsh Language Act had not done any harm to Wales.
“I’m a Celt and I love the rich diversity of language and culture across our islands,” Simon Hoare, who grew up in Cardiff, said. “The Welsh Language Act didn’t lead to a rise in nationalism but a cultural flowering and richness.
“If it comes to the Commons I will vote for an Irish Language Act. We will act if Stormont fails.”
But DUP Westminster Chief Whip Sammy Wilson MP responded in the House of Commons to criticise him for sounding like a “colonial ruler” or a “viceroy”.
“It doesn’t go down very well in Northern Ireland. This kind of condescending attitude: ‘If the natives can’t get it together, then let’s do it here’, like he was talking like some 19th-century colonial ruler,” said Sammy Wilson.
He later added in a tweet: “Ulster says no. To viceroy.”
The Welsh Language Act (1993) passed by Westminster is expected to be the blueprint for any Irish Language Act that would be passed. The act, for the first time, required public bodies to treat the Welsh and English languages as equal.
Over the weekend DUP leader Edwin Poots was deposed after he went ahead with the nomination of his close ally Paul Givan as Northern Ireland’s First Minister on the basis of a deal brokered by the Northern Secretary on Irish language and other cultural legislation.
It was confirmed yesterday that Jeffrey Donaldson will be the new leader of the DUP. Nominations for the post of DUP leader closed at midday on Tuesday, and the party chairman, Lord Morrow, confirmed shortly afterwards that Mr Donaldson had been the only candidate.
Sinn Féin is today expected to set out how it believes the disagreement around the protocol and Irish language legislation can be resolved.