Veteran DUP MP Sammy Wilson has stepped down as his party’s chief whip at Westminster.

Mr Wilson has been a vocal critic of the unionist party’s deal with the Government which led to the restoration of the Stormont powersharing institutions.

The East Antrim MP was not available for comment on Friday but a DUP source confirmed that he had left his role.

It is understood he will still remain as a member of the party’s officer team.

Earlier this month, the DUP dropped its two-year blockade of the Stormont Assembly and powersharing Executive, following the publication of the Government’s Safeguarding The Union command paper.

Stormont Assembly
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said his deal with the Government had replaced the so-called Irish Sea trading border (Liam McBurney/PA)

Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson insisted the new arrangements unveiled by the Government have removed the Irish Sea trading border and restored Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market.

However, several prominent figures within the DUP have publicly criticised the deal.

Just hours after the command paper was published, Mr Wilson launched a scathing broadside against the Government in the House of Commons in a clear sign of the differing opinions at the highest levels of the party.

The arch-Brexiteer claimed the ongoing application of EU law in Northern Ireland was the result of a “spineless, weak-kneed, Brexit-betraying Government, refusing to take on the EU and its interference in Northern Ireland”.

Mr Wilson also joined with party colleagues Lord Dodds and Lord Morrow in an article in the News Letter which denied that the so-called Irish Sea trading border had been removed.

The unionist party’s deal with the Government led to the return of the stalled powersharing institutions with Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill appointed as the first nationalist First Minister and the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly as deputy First Minister.