Former attorney general Dominic Grieve has urged the DUP to “think very carefully” about supporting a second referendum and warned against “hanging on to the prime minister’s coat tails”.
Mr Grieve was addressing a People’s Vote rally in Belfast’s Ulster Hall in support of another vote on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Other speakers included Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell.
“What are the leavers frightened of?” asked Mr Grieve.
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“I’ve often wondered at what point the DUP will find that their vision of the future does not accord with some members of the Conservatives, even for the post-Brexit world?
“My recommendation to the DUP would be to think very carefully about the desirability of embracing a democratic solution and supporting a second referendum, even though they may wish to continue to push the line they took in the first one.”
Mr Grieve is one of the 21 Conservative MPs ejected from his party for voting against Boris Johnson’s government.
Other speakers at the rally included Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, Alastair Campbell.
MLA’s Claire Bailey from the Green Party and Claire Hanna from the SDLP also spoke, along with Alliance leader and MEP Naomi Long.
Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will leave by the 31 October deadline “whatever happens”.
Living in denial
Mr Grieve insisted there was nothing undemocratic about a second vote.
“It offers the only sane, sensible way out of the hole we are in, and we need to go out constantly and make the case for it,” he said.
Mrs Long told an audience of several hundred the Good Friday Agreement was under threat.
“We stand here after three years with no assembly. If you don’t think the Good Friday Agreement is under threat, you’re living in denial,” she said.
Ms Bailey warned Northern Ireland stands to lose the most from Brexit.
“Our peace process is a fragile one. We’ve had no government, no Stormont, no assembly for over two and half years now. We have chaos at Westminster,” she said.
“We have elected MPs who either abstain from taking their seats, or the DUP who are in the confidence and supply arrangement.”
Ms Hanna said Brexit “rips through the complexity of this place” and “our shared European membership”.
“This is about protecting the welfare of everybody here, including those who voted to leave and those who were too young to vote,” she added.
“We need to say to those who voted to leave that we understand that you wanted things to change, we understand your concerns about public services, and we need to say we can end austerity or we can do Brexit, but we definitely cannot do both.”