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Donaldson tells MPs that Government must honour ‘seven promises’ to restore NI’s place in internal market

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Vehicles leave a P&O ferry at Larne. Credit: Paul Faith

Vehicles leave a P&O ferry at Larne. Credit: Paul Faith

Tests: DUP’s Sir Jeffrey Donaldson. Credit: PA

Tests: DUP’s Sir Jeffrey Donaldson. Credit: PA

PA

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Vehicles leave a P&O ferry at Larne. Credit: Paul Faith

The DUP has urged London to honour seven “promises” in a bid to “restore” Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market.

Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson set out the tests as the House of Commons debated the Northern Ireland Protocol .

MPs went on to approve a Commons motion that called for flexibility in the application of the deal for “t he mutual interests” of both sides.

Sir Jeffrey told MPs: “The Protocol presents the greatest ever threat to the economic integrity of the United Kingdom. The rigorous implementation of the Protocol that some anti-Brexit parties in Northern Ireland have called for would be bad for consumers and bad for business.

“It’d be socially disruptive, economically ruinous and politically disastrous for Northern Ireland.”

Sir Jeffrey repeated the need for the Protocol in its current form to be scrapped, highlighted unionist opposition and said the Government’s plans for the future of the trading arrangement “cannot come a moment too soon”.

He added: “Our tests are grounded not in a unionist wish list but in promises that have already been made in one form or another to the people of Northern Ireland.

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"I don’t believe it is too much to ask that the Government stands over these promises.”

Sir Jeffrey said new arrangements must fulfil commitments in the Acts of Union 1800, telling MPs it “created the United Kingdom for the people I represent” and entitles everyone to the same privileges, including on trade.

The MP for Lagan Valley said future arrangements must “avoid any diversion of trade”, adding: “It is simply unacceptable that businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland are told that they must purchase certain goods from the EU and not from Great Britain.”

The third demand was there should be “no border in the Irish Sea” between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with Sir Jeffrey adding: “Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market must be fully restored.”

The people of Northern Ireland must be given a say in the making of the laws governing them and there should be no checks on goods moving GB to NI or NI to GB, MPs heard.

Sir Jeffrey confirmed checks in place before Brexit should continue and goods moving from Great Britain to the EU via Northern Ireland may have different arrangements, noting: “It is goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that are subject to new checks under the Protocol which we object to.”

He added: “New arrangements must preserve the letter and the spirit of Northern Ireland’s constitutional guarantee, set out most recently in the Belfast Agreement, by requiring in advance the consent of a majority of people of Northern Ireland for any diminution of its status as part of the United Kingdom.”

The Cabinet Office’s Penny Mordaunt also told MPs a “seriously unbalanced” situation is developing in how the Northern Ireland Protocol is operating.

She added the UK is “ready” to develop a new approach on implementing post-Brexit trading arrangements and will bring forward its proposals shortly.


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