ONE of the founding members of the DUP said he believes that Unionism was “always in many ways doomed” and that a “New Ireland is now inevitable”.

Wallace Thompson, a strong supporter of the late former first minister of Northern Ireland Ian Paisley, said a discussion about Irish unity should be debated “openly and honestly”.

Thompson also worked as a former special adviser to DUP MP Nigel Dodds and drafted a key speech for the Queen in 2000 when she awarded the George Cross to the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the 70-year-old said: “There is an inevitability in my mind that we are moving towards some form of new Ireland.

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“Hopefully, new and not absorption, but we need to ask the questions and we need to ask for answers and we need to talk to people.

“That shouldn’t mean then you’re thinking that we’re suddenly going down that road. We might not. We might decide (based on) all the evidence that we don’t want to go down that road.

“But we’re closing our eyes and pretending there’s no problem. This is the problem with Unionism – we’re in denial, constant denial.

“To talk to these groups that are calling for a new Ireland to me is not an indication of weakness, it’s an indication of strength.”

Thompson also said that he voted for Brexit in 2016 and that he “would still vote to leave” although not if it meant an Irish Sea border.

Despite saying he would still vote to leave the EU, he added that Brexit went “belly-up” and that “we’re in a mess”.

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He added: “Unionism as a philosophy probably was always in many ways doomed because of Ireland’s nature, the fact that the north was carved off from the south … now you’ve got a position where, do you partition again?

“Do you accept that demographic change is such that we have to run to the walls and again shut the gates? Or do we recognise that we can’t keep doing this?

“We need to recognise that there are fundamental issues that have always been there really from centuries ago – that we need to now recognise and try to address.”