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DUP launch seven point document in opposition to NI Protocol amid ongoing negotiations


Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

A new DUP document giving seven reasons for opposing the Northern Ireland Protocol has been issued to Tory MPs and the public.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson launched the document which includes suggesting the post-Brexit trading arrangements are “undemocratic”, a “bad deal for the UK” and that it “threatens the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom”.

The list also claims the protocol breaks the UK Government pledge to “protect and strengthen the UK internal market as part of New Decade New Approach” and also “is costing the Northern Ireland economy £2.5m every day”.

The intervention by the DUP comes as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss held what she described as “constructive talks” with the European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic at her official residence at Chevening in Kent on Friday.

Ms Truss said there is going to be “intensive negotiations to work towards a negotiated solution to sort out these very real issues for the people of Northern Ireland," while also refusing to rule out triggering Article 16, the mechanism for suspending some parts of the protocol.

The Government is seeking substantial changes to the protocol - which forms part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement - arguing that it is hampering the free movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and damaging community relations.

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The protocol was negotiated to avoid a hard border with Ireland, by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods.

Unionists have consistently been pressuring for it to be scrapped because of the trade barriers it has created on products crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain.

Mr Donaldson has repeatedly threatened to withdraw his party’s ministers from the Stormont Executive if the UK Government does not act on the protocol.

However, he “paused” the threat earlier this week after confirming he would give Ms Truss time to negotiate with the EU.

In the new document issued by the DUP, the party said there are “seven main reasons why the Irish Sea border must go”.

“People in Northern Ireland are facing increased costs and reduced consumer choice. With 20% of all EU checks taking place in the Irish Sea, these trade barriers are costing Northern Ireland £2.5million each and every day,” he argued.

“No-one who supported leaving the European Union did so on the basis of it driving a wedge between constituent parts of the UK. Whilst the Irish Sea border exists, Brexit has not been delivered.

“The Protocol also locks the UK Government into endless rounds of negotiations with the European Union, especially as rules diverge and change over time.

“We have been shielded to some degree from the full devastation of the Protocol through temporary grace periods.

“Whilst agreement between the UK and EU to intensify talks is welcome, we need to see a timetable for progress set out.

“With the Government happy to talk about the Union we need to see action backing those words up."

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