Sir Jeffrey – the flawed Protocol has been the cause of instability

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP is giving evidence to the House of Lords Northern Ireland Protocol sub-Committee this afternoon.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Mr Donaldson said,

“The Protocol is not fully implemented yet approximately 200 Great Britain based companies have disengaged from the Northern Ireland market because of the additional paperwork. Indeed, if the Protocol was to be fully implemented the EU would demand passenger bag checks on arrivals at the airport, costly veterinary checks for any pets moving from GB to NI as well as item checks on groceries coming into NI at a rate which would cripple our supply chains.

Since its commencement the Government has subsidised companies to do paperwork but at an eyewatering cost of almost £1m per day for a trader support scheme. When this scheme ends, our companies will simply not have the resource to deal with such pressures.

The Protocol has failed economically and politically. There is no fully functioning Northern Ireland Assembly or Executive because of the Protocol. North-South institutions are not functioning because of the Protocol and the East-West relationship has been ruptured by the Protocol.

It was folly for anyone who values peace and stability in Northern Ireland to press ahead with such a flawed agreement, never mind call for its rigorous implementation. As former PM Sir Tony Blair has said, this was a bad deal for Northern Ireland.

The Protocol was foisted upon the people of Northern Ireland despite all unionist MLAs and MPs opposing it. We operate powersharing by cross community consent in Northern Ireland, not majority rule. Yet, more than 40% of the votes cast at the recent election oppose the Protocol. Even more bizarrely, some proponents of powersharing are saying ‘move on – nothing to see here’.

The Protocol must be replaced by arrangements that restore our place within the United Kingdom and the new arrangements must command the support of Unionists as well as Nationalists. It threatens our place in the United Kingdom, endangers jobs for our people, drives up costs for customers and reduces choice on our shelves.”

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