The leader of the DUP, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has set out a list of redline demands that must be met to stop the DUP from walking out of the Power-Sharing agreement that was implemented pre-signing of the Brexit Protocol agreement.
In a keynote speech from the La Mon hotel in Belfast, Mr Donaldson delivered his seven red lines stating, “as leader of the DUP, I am not prepared to lend my hand to a protocol which so fundamentally undermines the Union and the economical integrity of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland’s position in it”.
For the protocol to work, Sir Jeffrey stated we need “significant and substantial changes that can meet the seven tests that we set out”.
- Any new arrangements must fulfil the guarantee of the Sixth Article of the Act of Union (which exempts customs duties on goods passing between Northern Ireland and the Republic).
- Arrangements must avoid any diversion of trade.
- Protocol must not constitute a border in the Irish Sea.
- Plans must give the people of Northern Ireland a say in the making of laws that govern them.
- The protocol must result in “no checks on goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain or from Great Britain to Northern Ireland (and remaining in Northern Ireland).
- Arrangements must ensure no new regulatory borders develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
- The plans must “preserve the letter and spirit of Northern Ireland’s constitutional guarantee, as set out in numerous documents, but most recently in the Belfast Agreement by requiring the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland for, and in advance of, any diminution in its status as part of the United Kingdom.”
The DUP leader stated that he could easily walk away from the Stormont agreement triggering fresh elections “within weeks”.
It can not be “business as usual” while the damage to Northern Ireland and its place in the United Kingdom continues.
Sir Donaldson stated he opposed the protocol in its present state. The DUP leader said: “We are totally opposed to the protocol as it presently exists. We will neither accept it nor will we work it.”
“In my assessment, the time frame for resolving issues can be measured in weeks and not months or years,”
“If, in the final analysis, those who are democratically elected by the people of Northern Ireland lack the power to prevent such checks, and the protocol issues remain, then the position in office of DUP ministers would become untenable.”
“Let me be clear: if the choice is ultimately between remaining in office or implementing the protocol in its present form, then the only option for any unionist minister would be to cease to hold such office,”