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DUP Westminster Leader and Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has urged those parties who supported and demanded the ‘rigorous’ implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol to accept and be honest with the electorate that the Protocol is the cause of the disruption between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Sir Jeffrey said,

When the United Kingdom democratically voted by a 1.2m majority to leave the European Union, we argued for a sensible deal and warned those who campaigned for a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom that it would result in chaos.

Great Britain is our largest trading partner both by value and volume, yet many in Northern Ireland argued for and supported the Northern Ireland Protocol which created a barrier between us and that market. Indeed, when our then MEP Diane Dodds warned the European Parliament in October 2018, that even frozen lasagnes would face problems getting into Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein mocked this suggestion.

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union did not create this barrier, the Northern Ireland Protocol created this situation and those who demanded and supported the Protocol should take responsibility for their creation. They should be honest with the electorate. They built faux border posts and engaged in scaremongering about men in trench coats and poured cold water on our warnings. It is ridiculous that those parties now try to wash their hands of the Protocol.

Whilst those parties supported the Protocol, the DUP argued against it and voted against it at every stage. Indeed, it was only when the Prime Minister secured an 80-seat majority that he was able to gain the support of Parliament for this flawed deal.

It is positive that the Government has committed to mitigate the problems and blockages created by the Protocol, but the job of work and magnitude of the problem is enormous. Almost every sector in our economy has found themselves with unpalatable and unanswered questions.

We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to use Article 16, but in the immediate future businesses need solutions and answers. We will continue to press the Government for progress on all of these matters.”