Sir Jeffrey said,
“I look forward to meeting with law makers and opinion formers in the United States next week. My message to them will be that it is vital Northern Ireland is able to move forward building on solid foundations – but that can only be done by respecting the views of Unionists.
The Windsor Framework represents progress but there remain areas of concern where further work and engagement are required if we are to secure arrangements that are good for the long-term interests of Northern Ireland and which can be supported by unionists as well as nationalists.
Despite many in Dublin and Brussels telling us that the NI Protocol could not be re-negotiated progress has been made, but there is more to do. Whilst Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance Party would have ‘rigorously implemented’ the Protocol, we have held our nerve and will keep working to get it right.
Just as some said there would be ‘no re-negotiation’, our determination has proved what can be achieved. We will continue our efforts to ensure that we get an outcome that works and which can be considered against our seven tests.
The consultation panel that I have established has already commenced its work, having met on Friday morning. As we continue to engage in discussions with the Government I would encourage a broad section of unionism and loyalism, businesses and all those who want to see Northern Ireland prosper within the Union to take part in the consultation process. The group has elected Peter Robinson to act as its chair and over the next number of weeks the consultation group is very eager to receive written responses in the first instance and thereafter where possible to meet with a cross-section of consultees.
We are determined to see a return to the delicate political balance within Northern Ireland where the views of unionists are valued and respected. Washington, Dublin, London and Brussels must remember that progress has only ever been made in Northern Ireland by both unionists and nationalists working together.”
Written material can be submitted to the Unionist consultation panel via [email protected]