Sir Jeffrey: Replacing Protocol only way to make progress

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said the Secretary of State can’t avoid the reality that replacing the Northern Ireland Protocol is the only way to restore the political institutions in Northern Ireland and to make progress.

Sir Jeffrey held a telephone conversation with the Secretary of State this lunchtime alongside East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson.

Commenting afterwards Sir Jeffrey said, “The Secretary of State has been very forthright in his comments around the prospect of an Assembly Election. It is entirely up to him whether that happens, but the DUP will go into any election seeking to renew our mandate that the Protocol must be replaced with arrangements that can secure the support of unionists as well as nationalists.

Whatever changes an election might bring, it won’t change the fundamental need for cross-community consent. No unionist elected to the Assembly in May supports the Protocol and there is no-one who credibly believes that will change should there be an election in December.

Progress can be secured through either negotiation or legislation, but the destination is what’s important. That destination is to meet the Government’s own NDNA commitment to restore Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom Internal Market. The problem is clear and the solution has been outlined. The local political parties are not at the table to negotiate with the EU or the Cabinet table to deliver the legislation. That task lies with the Secretary of State and the Government in which he serves.”

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