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Sam McBride

Don’t expect the DUP to suddenly compromise on NI Protocol; its position is vulnerable as unionism hardens

Sam McBride


Polling on unionist attitudes to the Irish Sea border has often been misinterpreted — the election shows deeper opposition than some observers want to admit

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson speaking during an anti-protocol rally in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, alongside Jamie Bryson and Jim Allister (Photo: Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson speaking during an anti-protocol rally in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, alongside Jamie Bryson and Jim Allister (Photo: Liam McBurney/PA)

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Sam McBride

Sam McBride

Jeffrey

Jeffrey

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson speaking during an anti-protocol rally in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, alongside Jamie Bryson and Jim Allister (Photo: Liam McBurney/PA)

How much do unionists really care about the Northern Ireland Protocol? The answer to that question will hinge on whether devolved government returns at Stormont for months, as well as something of greater geopolitical significance — the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Many people who are not unionists — who themselves tend to support the protocol — have for months said that unionist parties are out of touch with their voters on the protocol. The election outcome suggests that analysis reflects confirmation bias and the reality is that Northern Ireland is far more divided on this issue than some people realise.


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