According to the incoming DUP leader, the NI Protocol is the “biggest ever threat to the UK’s economic integrity.”
SIR JEFFREY DONALDSON warned the House of Commons that the “stakes could not be greater” as he laid out the Democratic Unionist Party’s seven-stage test for Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit relationship with the rest of the UK.
In yesterday’s discussion on the Northern Ireland Protocol, the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) told MPs that the UK-EU agreement would be “socially disruptive, economically devastating, and politically terrible” for the province of Ulster. On June 30, Donaldson, who succeeded Edwin Poots as DUP leader for the second time in 2021, stated the first priority for Ulster was to ensure there were no checks on products transported between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Donaldson’s test does not apply to commodities assessed under standards in place before the United Kingdom left the European Union, such as animals.
The Protocol, according to the DUP leader, threatens to violate the sixth clause of the Act of Union from 1800.
“Everyone in the United Kingdom is entitled to the same privileges and to be on the same footing as to goods in either nation and in relation to trade inside the United Kingdom,” he stated, citing laws adopted by Westminster to allow Ireland into the United Kingdom.
The Lagan Valley MP went on to say that it was “simply not acceptable” for consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland to be told that they have to buy specific goods from the EU rather than the United Kingdom.
However, Donaldson, echoing many Ulster Unionists’ concerns expressed at last month’s demonstration against the Protocol and at the recent July Twelfth celebrations, emphasized that a border could not be built across the Irish Sea.
Other elements of Donaldson’s test include allowing Northern Ireland citizens “a say” in legislation that affect the province, maintaining no regulatory hurdles with the United Kingdom unless Stormont agrees, and keeping “the letter and spirit” of the Good Friday Agreement.
The DUP leader claimed the Belfast Agreement “needs the permission of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland in advance for any decrease in its status as part of the United Kingdom.”
“To restrict the constitutional status to our having a say in the ultimate stage of leaving the UK would mean that it is effectively no meaningful guarantee at all,” Donaldson stated.
“There is no realistic or practical reason,” the DUP leader stated. Brinkwire Summary News