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DUP writes to MPs to seek support in bid to ditch Northern Ireland Protocol

The letter comes ahead of a debate at Westminster on the Brexit mechanism.

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DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds (Liam McBurney/PA)

The DUP has written to every MP in a bid to unite opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The letter, signed by DUP leader Arlene Foster and her deputy Lord Nigel Dodds, refers to “significant” anger over checks on goods arriving from Great Britain.

This was exasperated by the European Commission’s brief triggering of Article 16, with the DUP accusing the bloc of “political opportunism”.

“The actions and statements of the commission have caused very significant anger and harm within Northern Ireland and has compounded the notion that the EU is playing fast and loose with Northern Ireland, attempting on the one hand to require the UK Government to enforce its obligations whilst being prepared to waive elements of the protocol when it suits the needs of the EU,” they said.

The letter sets out a range of trading areas the party says have been disrupted since the protocol took effect and calls for its replacement.

MPs are urged to take part in a Westminster debate on Monday forced by an e-petition started by Mrs Foster which was signed by more than 100,000 people.

It calls for the Government to urgently take action to ensure unfettered trade is restored between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic is due to hold virtual meetings with a range of groups in Northern Ireland on Thursday.

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European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

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European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken has written to the other four parties in the Stormont Executive urging them to call for changes to how agriculture checks are carried out.

“While we will not reach a collective position on the NI Protocol, apart from the shared understanding that it’s not working, this approach would at least show that we are collectively working for the benefit of all of our people,” he said.

“Therefore, I am asking you as the leaders of the Executive parties to join with me in calling for the adoption of whatever changes to agriculture checks that are required to remove these onerous requirements.”

Northern Ireland has remained in the single market for goods, so products entering the region from Great Britain must comply with strict EU rules on animal and plant health.

The full range of checks has not yet been implemented with a number of grace periods still running.

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