Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson has said he has no regrets about posting live social media updates from a confidential DUP meeting over a Government deal to address concerns over post-Brexit trading arrangements.
Mr Bryson, an outspoken critic of the proposals which are expected to lead to the return of the powersharing institutions in Northern Ireland, also denied he “misrepresented” elements of the meeting.
The PA news agency understands that Mr Bryson was able to relay live updates of DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s speech with the use of a recording device from someone inside the meeting.
The loyalist’s posts on X, formerly Twitter, included apparent attempts from within the meeting to find out who was leaking the information to him.
Asked if regretted his actions, Mr Bryson said: “Absolutely not. No criticism from unionists opposed to the protocol and who have a right to know what is going on in this glossy powerpoint presentation.
“I did not share any of the details of the private contributions in the DUP in that meeting, simply the PowerPoint presentation of what Sir Jeffrey was claiming was on the table.”
During a press conference after the DUP meeting, Sir Jeffrey said the social media posts were not a true reflection of what occurred.
He also said the word “betrayal” was used in the meeting to describe whoever leaked the details.
Mr Bryson responded: “I think Jeffrey should reflect very carefully on that. If there is anything he feels was a misrepresentation, I think he should particularise what he said was a misrepresentation and we can let the public decide for themselves.”
Mr Bryson said he does not believe the deal the DUP has negotiated with the Government will lead to the removal of the so-called Irish Sea border.
Sir Jeffrey has said the deal to restore Stormont powersharing will remove all post-Brexit checks on goods moving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
Mr Bryson added: “Sir Jeffrey has set a high standard for himself – zero checks, zero customs paperwork on goods staying in Northern Ireland. That requires tearing up the Northern Ireland Protocol and fundamentally changing the Windsor Framework.
“Let’s see when this legislation comes through if this does what Jeffrey Donaldson says that it does.”
He added: “The DUP Executive have only seen a PowerPoint presentation presented by those who negotiated the deal; they have not seen the legal text. Let’s see what the legal text actually says.”
Mr Bryson has previously appeared publicly with the DUP leader at a number of rallies protesting against the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.
He said: “We are fundamentally diverging on issues. I have not changed, I have maintained the same position from January 1 2021 when I said you need to collapse the institutions, make Stormont ungovernable, no unionist should implement the protocol.
“The DUP came to that position 14 months later and now they are trying to revert back to their initial position.
“No doubt they have made some progress and Sir Jeffrey deserves credit for that.
“But don’t say you have removed the Irish Sea border, because you haven’t.”