The Ulster Unionists have endorsed hard-hitting criticism of the Northern Ireland Protocol by former party leader and First Minister, David Trimble.
Writing in the Irish Times, Nobel peace laureate Lord Trimble said that the protocol "wilfully tears up the Belfast Agreement" because it "ignores the fundamental principle of consent".
Last night Ulster Unionist Lord Empey said the case by Lord Trimble - a key architect of the 1998 Agreement - against the controversial protocol was "compelling".
Lord Empey said his fellow peer "makes a compelling case that the actions of both the UK Government and the EU amounts to a serious breach of the agreement that both proclaim to be protecting".
"Both London and Brussels steadfastly refuse to talk to the individuals who negotiated the agreement. Had they done so, the folly of their actions could have been avoided," he said.
"My colleague and former MEP, Jim Nicholson, described the protocol as 'a sledgehammer to crack a nut' and I fully agree with him.
"Workable alternatives are and were available, but NI has been used as a bargaining chip from the start of the withdrawal process in 2016. What is lacking is the political will in London and Brussels to stop the process of using sticking plasters to fix problems on a day-to-day basis and realise the protocol is fundamentally flawed in principle and undermines the Belfast Agreement.
"Northern Ireland has moved from being a fully integrated component of the UK's internal market to having something akin to 'associate membership' to which brutal conditions apply."
Lord Empey, who served as acting First Minister of Northern Ireland in 2001, also hit out at the DUP over its protocol stance.
"There has been widespread and, as far as I can see, universal unionist opposition to the protocol.
"But, sadly, that was not always the case.
"The border in the Irish Sea is a self-inflicted wound because on the day that Boris Johnson proposed it to the EU, the first people to back him were Arlene Foster and her 10 Westminster MPs.
"On October 2, 2019, when the Prime Minister unveiled his plans to saw off this part of the United Kingdom from Great Britain, Mrs Foster described his plans as 'a serious and sensible way forward'.
"The DUP's actions were reckless and have done untold constitutional and economic damage to Northern Ireland.
"Clearly the DUP were no match for the Prime Minister.
"He ran rings around them, and today Mrs Foster is in no position to lead unionism out of the mess that she and her colleagues created."