Statement on the Publication of an Agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the European Union on new arrangements for Northern Ireland.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP said,

“Over eighteen months ago the Democratic Unionist Party outlined seven tests which at the time I indicated would be the basis upon which we would judge any agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

It is now one year since we withdrew our First Minister from the then Northern Ireland Executive to send the clearest possible signal that we did not support the Northern Ireland Protocol and that we were not prepared to implement that which was disastrous for Northern Ireland.

Since the imposition of that Protocol many, including the Government, the European Union and indeed those early cheerleaders for it in Northern Ireland have come to recognise that it could not have been made to work, had upset the delicate political balance in Northern Ireland and was not supported by the Unionist community in Northern Ireland.

Our judgement and our principled position in opposing the Protocol in Parliament and at Stormont has been vindicated. Undoubtedly it is now recognised that the Protocol does not work. When others said there would be no re-negotiation and no change our determination has proved what can be achieved.

We would like to thank the Prime Minister, and his predecessors for their work and significant engagement to date.

We welcome the publication of the outcome of the Government’s negotiations with the EU which ends a period of speculation and spin, often from those who know little about Northern Ireland.

In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern. There can be no disguising the fact that in some sectors of our economy EU law remains applicable in Northern Ireland.

The DUP will want to study the detail of what has been published today as well as examining the detail of any and all underpinning legal texts. Where necessary we stand ready to engage with the Government in order to seek further clarification, re-working or change as required.

Ultimately the party will now assess all these proposed outcomes and arrangements against our seven tests, outlined in our 2022 Assembly Election Manifesto, to determine whether what has been published meet our tests and whether it respects and restores Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom.”

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