The DUP, the main Unionist party in Northern Ireland, has endorsed a deal to return to power-sharing government, leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said. He said it provided a basis for the return, subject to new legislation being passed in parliament, and final agreement on a timetable. The party has boycotted government at Stormont for nearly two years. But Sir Jeffrey faced criticism from some in the party, who spoke against the deal at an executive meeting.
The DUP collapsed the Northern Irish Assembly nearly two years ago in protest against post-Brexit trade arrangements. The party has been in talks with the UK government to change the arrangements agreed in the UK-EU Windsor Framework deal.
Sir Jeffrey said the legislation agreed with Westminster would “remove checks on goods moving within the UK and remaining in NI, and end NI blindly following EU laws”.
He added: “There will be legislation protecting the Acts of Union, which guarantees unfettered access for Northern Ireland business to the rest of the UK.” Regardless of who forms the next UK government, these measures will be taken as “legislative commitments”, he said.
Monday night’s meeting lasted more than five hours and was plagued with security issues. Despite the remote venue being kept secret, senior DUP members were confronted by protesters holding placards calling them “sell-outs”. people holding signs that read Stop DUP Sellout and North Down says No to an Irish Sea Border
TUV members were among the protesters outside the DUP executive meeting
The meeting was itself live-tweeted from inside by loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson, who claimed it was beset by arguments and chaotic scenes.
Nevertheless, the DUP leader said the vote had been “decisive” and that he had been mandated to operate on that. We will only be able to move after the government faithfully delivers on the implementation of its legal and other commitments,” Sir Jeffrey told reporters.
“Both our party officers and party executive have mandated me to move forward.. on the basis of the proposals brought forward by the government, subject to and on the basis of the government delivering measures of that package.
In other news – Disposable vapes to be banned for children’s health, government says
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