During the course of his remarks Sir Jeffrey said,
“The Union is not about Northern Ireland. It’s not about England. It’s not about Wales. It’s not about Scotland. It is about England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in relationship together, recognising that we are together more than the sum of our parts, an historic union that has achieved so much and which can achieve so much more for the people of these islands.
The ruling of the courts in favour of the partial suspension of Article 6 of the Act of Union, something that no parliamentarian consciously voted for, raises existential questions regarding the adequacy of the constitutional guarantees that unionists have for twenty-five years expected to rely upon as British citizens. This cannot be ignored as part of any framework for resolving the issues and getting Northern Ireland back on track.
The DUP wants to see Stormont back up and running again as soon as possible and on a sound and stable foundation. We have put forward proposals to the Government that are designed to address our continuing concerns about key elements of the Windsor Framework so that in law and in practice, new arrangements respect and protect Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom and its internal market. We await the Government’s response to these proposals. The stakes are extremely high and this necessitates a willingness on all sides to engage constructively with proposals that could help end the logjam and fully restore our place in the Internal market of the United Kingdom.
Notwithstanding these current considerations, the DUP has set out criteria against which we will assess any proposal and has been clear throughout that mutual enforcement is a concept worthy of serious and sustained consideration in terms of delivering a longer-term solution.
The vast majority of trade from Great Britain to NI ports is destined for, and remains, within Northern Ireland. There is a negligible risk to the integrity of the EU market. Indeed, it is hard to find a single reported case of goods crossing the border since 2020 which have been a threat to their Irish and EU consumers - despite many EU rules not having been applied. Even where goods are destined for the EU, it is reasonable that each side could maintain regulatory autonomy whilst enforcing whatever rules the other seeks to impose on only those goods crossing the border. This would address the problems caused by the imposition of regulations on us by an entirely separate regulatory regime and respect our constitutional position in the UK. “