A DUP MLA has been slammed for engaging in “playground discourse”, after he described the taoiseach as ‘Little Leo’.
Edwin Poots came under fire after posting a tweet in the early hours of this morning, in which he reiterated his party’s position that it would not accept divergence of the rules covering the EU single market and customs union on the island of Ireland post-Brexit.
The language Mr Poots used to refer to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar angered many on the social media platform, including some unionists.
The Lagan Valley MLA tweeted: “Little Leo needn’t think that an unacceptable deal on Monday will be acceptable on Friday. A bad deal is not better than no deal.”
Many outraged people hit out at Mr Poots’ comments, with one questioning why he had chosen to “needlessly belittle” a neighbouring head of state.
Another posted: “Put downs, threats and tantrums weren’t acceptable Monday. Still won’t be acceptable come Friday, Edwin.”
One twitter user asked Mr Poots why he had no rebuke for Theresa May or the UK government, adding: “They were happily at the other end of the deal with Leo and the Irish gov - it takes two to tango.”
Another said the MLA’s remarks were “embarrassing to any decent unionist”.
Several people called on Mr Poots to show greater respect, with one stating: “The rest of the world is watching, and you are showing how badly politics are done. The attitude is appalling, being continually outclassed by your counterparts in other regions.”
In response to the backlash, Mr Poots posted another tweet in which he referred to “angry little trollers”.
He also accused the Dublin government of “play acting the big boys with EU support”, adding: “If there is no deal they (Dublin) will do massive damage to their own economy by cutting off their major trading partner. Not a wise position.”