Speaking in advance of an anti-Protocol event in Ballymoney Sir Jeffrey said,
“In just over 40 days the people will vote in the NI Assembly election. It is the most important election in a generation and will decide the future direction of Northern Ireland.
Our slogan is Moving Forward Together because Northern Ireland and unionism will only move forward when we work together.
The Protocol is an existential threat to our place in the United Kingdom. It must be replaced by arrangements that restore our place within the UK internal market and which can command the support of unionists as well as nationalists.
Moving forward together also means unionism moving forward together in opposition to the Protocol. The progress we have made so far has only been because of a united stand across unionism. Splits and division only give succour to those who want to see unionism weakened.
The Protocol is hurting everyone. It is even hampering efforts to help tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Those parties who demanded the Protocol’s “rigorous implementation” have failed Northern Ireland. The Protocol is standing in the way of assistance for working families. The Chancellor in his Spring Statement again highlighted the starkness of the problem when people in Northern Ireland were missing out on tax breaks because of the Protocol.
We don’t just need to see action in London and Brussels. Moving forward together means unionists registering to vote, using their vote and transferring to other pro-Union candidates. A victory for those who want to take Northern Ireland out of the Union will undoubtedly be used as a catalyst to take forward plans for a border poll, but it will be used to claim there is support for the Protocol to remain.
We can and must move forward this campaign in opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, but we will only make progress if we do it together.”