Northern Ireland’s Top Party Steps Up Fight Against Protocol
(Bloomberg) -- Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party may withdraw its ministers from the region’s government, its leader Jeffrey Donaldson said Thursday, in a bid to force the removal of the Brexit trade agreement’s Northern Ireland protocol.
Withdrawing ministers is one of a series of measures Donaldson outlined in a speech in Belfast aimed at forcing the removal of the protocol. It is “not just a threat to the economic integrity of the United Kingdom, it is having real world impacts on our economy,” he said.
The DUP, which is one of two governing parties in the region’s power sharing government, opposes the protocol as it believes it undermines Northern Ireland’s position within the U.K. Withdrawing from holding office would effectively bring down the government.
“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,” Donaldson said. “Our political institutions will not survive a failure to resolve the problems that the protocol has created.”
“Regardless of what the position of the U.K. Government or of the EU, in the future, DUP ministers would seek to block additional checks at the ports,” Donaldson said. “I believe they would have a solid legal basis to do so.”
Donaldson said his party will withdraw from formal meetings with the Irish Republic’s government required under a 1998 peace agreement until the protocol is resolved, and will also examine the “legality” of checks already in place. DUP lawmakers will also seek to frustrate and prevent Northern Ireland’s power sharing government to align the region to EU law, he added.
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