Sir Jeffrey: Government must act before full damage of Protocol is felt

Speaking after the Government's legislative programme for the new parliamentary session was set out in the Queen's Speech today, DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the Government must act to restore Northern Ireland's place within the UK and the ability to trade with the rest of our country protected.

Sir Jeffrey said,

"Devolution was restored in 2020 on the basis of a clear Government commitment to guarantee unfettered access for Northern Ireland businesses to the whole of the UK internal market. That commitment is fundamental to providing a stable platform for devolved government here and it must be delivered upon.

The economic and constitutional damage of the Protocol is not even fully evident yet. That will only be fully felt when grace periods end and support packages are lifted. The people of Northern Ireland cannot afford to see that impact however and that is why the Government needs to act and to act quickly.

That action, whether unilateral or not, needs to occur, with Northern Ireland's place in the UK restored and the ability to trade with the rest of our country protected.

Devolved government in Northern Ireland is built on the bedrock of cross-community support. Imposing a change in Northern Ireland's constitutional position without consent is a clear breach of the Belfast Agreement and the power-sharing settlement here. As the Protocol is the cause of that breach, the Government will know that it is either the Protocol or power-sharing based upon a cross-community consensus. The Prime Minister cannot sustain both."

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