Ms Lockhart said,
“Whilst Brussels and the pro-protocol parties in Northern Ireland were calling for the ‘rigorous implementation’ of the Protocol it has been the steadfast leadership of the DUP which has forced a return to the negotiating table.
Central to this progress has been the unity of purpose within the broad unionist community. It is therefore foolish for Doug Beattie to launch political attacks on the DUP rather than stand with us to get a better deal for Northern Ireland.
Doug has form in being out of step with the unionist people and their desire to see the unionist parties working together which is why he struggled to retain his own Assembly seat.
Whilst Doug would like the DUP to roll over and give in to the demands of the pro-protocol parties, the DUP will stand firm and ensure we get the best deal for those who want to see Northern Ireland prosper. We want to see devolution which is stable and sustainable that means the foundations must be right.”