Sir Jeffrey – “negotiations are welcome but we need to see product”

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said it is time for the Prime Minister to trigger Article 16, if recent talks are not producing outcomes.

Sir Jeffrey was speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

“The Protocol is costing Northern Ireland £850m per year, it is polluting politics, undermining the Union and is diverting trade within the United Kingdom. It is time for this unacceptable Irish Sea border to go.

Last month, I warned London and Brussels that the Northern Ireland Assembly mandate could not be sustained if the Government continued to stand by the Protocol and unionist Ministers are forced to implement measures harmful to our place in the UK. That remains my position.

I am glad that the Government has stepped up and our pressure has brought Brussels back to the table. That is progress from the days of “no, nay, never” to changes. But endless negotiations without product will not suffice.

It is welcome that the Prime Minister wants to see rapid progress and recognises that the conditions to trigger article 16 have already been met.

If Brussels is not prepared the make the kind of changes envisaged in the July Command Paper, then it is time for the Government to act unilaterally and protect this part of the United Kingdom in line duty it’s NDNA commitment.

If the Government fails to act, then I will have no option but ask the people of Northern Ireland to make their voice heard at the ballot box.”

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