Sir Jeffrey Donaldson – “HMG must publish Command Paper Timeline”

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP has asked the Government to set out a plan of how they intend to deliver imminently on their Command Paper.

Sir Jeffrey was speaking after meeting with the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss ahead of the latest round of talks between the EU and UK Government. The DUP’s East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson and Peer Lord Dodds of Duncairn also attended the meeting.

Sir Jeffrey said,

“This was a welcome opportunity to meet with the Foreign Secretary so she could hear first-hand about the damage the Protocol arrangements are doing to Northern Ireland, in both economic and political terms. We understand she already has a clear understanding of the problems created over the last year.

Northern Ireland is currently required to implement EU law on a wide range of economic, finance and manufacturing policy without any input whatsoever from Northern Ireland or UK legislators and is subject to the jurisdiction of the EU Courts. Northern Ireland cannot continue to be held prisoner in such arrangements.

The Protocol was imposed on Northern Ireland without the support of its people. The DUP opposed it in Parliament and has consistently forecast the consequences of its enactment. A year on from its activation we have won the argument that the Protocol is unworkable and damaging to Northern Ireland – even those who previously argued for its rigorous implementation accept begrudgingly that it is not working.

Elected representatives who support the Union have set out their assessment that the NI Protocol is bad for Northern Ireland and if left unaltered will lead to the economic and constitutional divergence of Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. This we cannot and will not accept. The current temporary grace periods are saving Northern Ireland from an even more immediate harmful situation.

We have indicated to Ms Truss that Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom internal market must be restored so that there are no checks for goods travelling from Great Britain and staying within Northern Ireland. That must be guaranteed by the UK Government.

Following the meeting we have asked the Government to set out a plan of how they intend to deliver imminently on their Command Paper.

The UK Government must also indicate a timetable as to when and how these restored arrangements for Northern Ireland will be brought about.

For our part we will use all measures at our disposal to continue to oppose the implementation of the current arrangements flowing from the Protocol and we have made it clear to the Government that we will not be implementers of Protocol arrangements.

It is unarguable that the Protocol has fundamentally weakened Northern Ireland’s governing arrangements and balance can only be restored when Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market is restored and the damaging Protocol consequences are reversed.”

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