Progress only possible with support of both unionists and nationalists

DUP MLAs Gordon Lyons and Emma Little Pengelly met Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris in Belfast today and told him that progress would only be possible with the support of both unionists and nationalists. They also highlighted the areas of public spending which could benefit instead of spending £18,000 per hour on the Trader Support Service.

By Gordon Lyons MLA

East Antrim

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Emma Little-Pengelly said, “The Secretary of State has said that his focus is on restoring the Northern Ireland Executive in line with the Belfast Agreement. The only way to achieve this is to replace the Protocol with arrangements that can command the support of unionists as well as nationalists.

We set out the parameters for a way forward more than 18 months ago. The tests by which we will judge any agreement are public and they remain in place. The Supreme Court case helped crystalise exactly why unionists reject the Protocol.

There will be no basis for an Executive to be formed until Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market is restored and our constitutional position is respected.”

Gordon Lyons said, “The Secretary of State recently brought forward a budget and is already looking ahead to next year’s financial position. Public services are under severe pressure at a time when £18,000 is being spent every single hour on a Trader Support Service because of the trade barriers erected within the United Kingdom.

The money currently being spent in just one day allowing businesses to trade within their own country instead could pay the yearly salary of 10 highly qualified nurses.”

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