Mr Beattie was speaking after the minister for state said that the framework would not be reopened as part of talks with the DUP to restore Stormont.
“I think Steve Baker was being brutally honest,” the MLA told the Nolan Show yesterday. “And I think it's fair that unionists and loyalists and everybody else in Northern Ireland gets honesty. We have been told that message for quite some time. So it didn't come as a shock to us when he said that...”.
Mr Nolan responded that while it might be brutal honesty, “there might be some people saying about you and your party: ‘Where's the fight in you? Stand up if you want that Windsor framework changed, fight them?’
Mr Beattie replied: “I agree with that, because we think you should be in the arena fighting, not standing on the outside complaining in. And it's clear that the boycott over the last 18 months has not worked, but we have got an opportunity to affect change to the Windsor framework - bearing in mind it is a framework - and we could do that while being in government next year.”
He said there will be a vote in future on articles 5-10 of the framework and that in 2025 the Trade and Cooperations Agreement that underpins the Windsor Framework is up for review.
“We should be in, making the strongest case possible in order to have that change.”
Stormont parties will also have access to the Stormont Brake, he said, but only if they are in government.
Later in a party statement, Mr Beattie said that Mr Baker’s comments were not new information.
“It has been said many times publicly and privately, and the likelihood is only secondary legislation will be brought forward to secure our trading relationship within the UK Single Market,” he said.
"Therefore, it is important that politicians here in Northern Ireland are honest, even if that honesty is not popular. I would rather be honest and disliked than lie for a vote.
“The Ulster Unionist Party believes that we can have an effect on the worst aspects of the Windsor Framework by being in government.”