Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP said,
“The European Union’s threats of ‘serious consequences’ are intemperate, ill-judged and very ill-advised. They ought to recognise that the Protocol and its Irish Sea Border is causing economic harm and undermining stability in Northern Ireland. The fact that not a single elected unionist supports the Protocol demonstrates that this arrangement does not cement peace. The Protocol is now on a daily basis poisoning our delicate political arrangements.
These negotiations cannot become a process to excuse away the real problems of the Protocol nor is it acceptable for those with EU interests to now claim that a legal mechanism within the Protocol- namely Article 16 cannot and should never be used.
Indeed, I would remind those who claim that it is against the spirit of the Belfast Agreement to invoke Article 16, in circumstances where it is done to commence a process of re-establishing NI’s place in the U.K. internal market, that a border down the Irish Sea is the real and damaging breach of the 98 Agreement.
The Government set out a reasonable position in its command paper and our view remains unchanged that unless the Irish Sea border goes then it will not be business as usual in Northern Ireland.
It is time the interests of NI were put first by the EU rather than behaving in a manner which has brought us to the brink.”