Sir Jeffrey Donaldson stated to the House of Commons that the stakes were too high when he described the seven-stage DUP test for Northern Ireland’s post Brexit arrangement with the United Kingdom.
Yesterday’s debate over the Northern Ireland Protocol saw the DUP’s new leader warn MPs that the UK-EU agreement would be “socially disruptive, economically ruinous, and politically disastrous” to the province of Ulster.
Donaldson, who succeeded Edwin Poots as the DUP’s second leader contest in 2021, stated that the first requirement for Ulster was to ensure that there are no checks on goods being traded between Great Britain (and Northern Ireland)
Donaldson’s test excludes goods that were checked according to rules before the UK left the European Union. This includes livestock.
DUP leader added Protocol, threatening to violate the Act of Union in 1800.
He claimed that the Westminster legislation to allow Ireland to enter the United Kingdom gave everyone the same rights and the same status as anyone else in the United Kingdom concerning goods from either country or trade within the United Kingdom.
Lagan Valley MP then stated that it was “simply unacceptable” that Northern Ireland’s businesses and consumers are told to purchase goods from the EU and not Great Britain.
Donaldson, however, echoing the concerns expressed by many Ulster Unionists at last month’s protest against Protocol and the recent July Twelfth celebrations, emphasized that there can’t be a border drawn down the Irish Sea.
Donaldson’s test also includes giving Northern Ireland citizens a voice in regulations that impact the province, ensuring no regulatory barriers to Britain unless Stormont agrees and preserving “the letter and the spirit of” the Good Friday Agreement.
The leader of the DUP said that the Belfast Agreement requires in advance the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland for any diminution in its status as part of the United Kingdom”.
Donaldson stated that “To reduce the constitutional status to our having a say in the final step of leaving the United Kingdom would mean that, in effect, it is no meaningful guarantee at all.”
DUP leader said: “There is no pragmatic or practical reason why arrangements cannot be put in place which can satisfy these tests and prove no meaningful threat to the integrity of the EU Single Market.”