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DUP Westminster Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has called on the Government to replace the Northern Ireland Protocol with arrangements that respect Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom.

He was speaking in the Parliamentary debate triggered by the e-Petition tabled by DUP Leader Arlene Foster.

Speaking afterwards the Lagan Valley MP said, "People from every constituency in the United Kingdom signed this petition and the threshold for the debate to be held was met within one day. That demonstrates the strength of feeling about the damaging impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It is an impact not just on trade, but on Northern Ireland's relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom.

If the stated objective of the Protocol is to protect the peace process and the political agreements which have underpinned progress in Northern Ireland then it is failing. The Protocol is creating economic instability and the potential for political instability.

Those who have championed the Protocol need to explain how a birthday present of a book sent from a son in England to his elderly mother in my constituency undermines the peace process or the EU single market. Yet the Northern Ireland Protocol has meant that UK Border Force took such a parcel ripped it open, inspected it, before taping it back together only to arrive days late for an 80 year old mother’s birthday.

Those who told us there is no border and continue to minimise any issue need to explain why someone ordering goods from Great Britain is told they have to pay a "border fee" before those items can be shipped to Northern Ireland.

This is a disruption to the UK internal market and it is the responsibility of the UK Government to act and to protect that market. They must use the powers given under the protocol to resolve the diversion and disruption to trade and restore the rights of people in Northern Ireland to trade with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Those rights are fundamental to the Act of Union and in this centenary year of Northern Ireland we expect the Prime Minister to replace the Protocol with arrangements that respect Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom."