Speaking from Westminster after addressing the House of Commons during a debate on the NI (Executive Formation etc) Bill Sir Jeffrey said,
“I have spoken in the House of Commons at almost every significant milestone relating to Northern Ireland in the last twenty-five years, the consistent lesson on every occasion was the need for consensus amongst unionists and nationalists if we are to make progress.
Progress is only made when unionists and nationalists agree on a path. That is why the Northern Ireland Protocol was and is wrong. It was imposed upon Northern Ireland without the support of a single unionist MLA or MP. Indeed, we warned both the European Union and the Government that the Protocol would undermine the foundations of devolution.
The European Union is refusing to reopen their negotiating mandate but if they value the institutions arising from the Belfast Agreement then it is time for them to change course and set their sights on a solution to replace the Protocol which unionists can support.
To focus on the consequences of the Executive Formation Bill but not ask how we got here is reckless. The Northern Ireland Protocol is undermining our place in the union and our economy. Unionist participation in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive will only return when the Protocol is dealt with.”