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Sammy Wilson says DUP can’t enter Executive with ‘poison’ of protocol as he admits election will be ‘tough’ for party


Sammy Wilson MP

Sammy Wilson MP

Sammy Wilson MP

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has insisted his party can't go back into the Executive with the "poison" of the Northern Ireland Protocol as he admitted the Assembly election will be "tough" for the DUP.

It's after Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis intimated this week that a specific piece of legislation relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol will not be in the Queen's Speech.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has urged the British government to act on unionists’ concerns in relation to the post-Brexit trading arrangements, criticising the arrangements as harmful to the union and calling for Northern Ireland’s position in the UK internal market to be protected.

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster radio programme, Mr Wilson said: "If there is no legislation in the Queen's speech and no plans to deal with the Protocol, we have made it very clear that the Assembly cannot function if the poison of the protocol is still there. "

He continued: "We would be required to sit in an Executive that would have to implement a piece of legislation that is designed for the constitutional and economic destruction of Northern Ireland. And secondly, we'd be sitting in an Assembly where 60 per cent of the laws that govern manufacturing and goods will be made in another jurisdiction."

Mr Wilson insisted that the last time he spoke to ministers at Westminster before it went into recess, they said there would be legislation around the Protocol but "they couldn't tell us what would be in that legislation or the details of it and it now seems to have been removed". He added: "If that is the case, that's a mistake."

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Meanwhile, Mr Wilson admitted this election would be challenging for the DUP as vote counting got underway on Friday morning.

"We didn't do very well at the last election and this will be a tough election for us," he said.

On the same programme, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: "The reality is if there’s no Assembly, there’ll be some form of direct rule.”

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