Prime minister tells Commons conditions for trade deal are unacceptable before later heading to Brussels for last-ditch talks
DUP says Northern Ireland protocol will only survive if EU can minimise its inconvenience
The DUP has issued a lengthy statement on the agreement reached with the EU on how to implement the Northern Ireland protocol. By DUP standards it is relatively positive (“some aspects of today’s statement indicates that progress has been secured”), but the DUP has raised concerns about the rules for the import of chilled meats from Britain into Northern Ireland.
We remain concerned by those elements of this ‘in principle agreement’ that are characterised by grace periods and time-limited derogations, and in particular we will want to continue to lobby the Government to ensure that at the end of the six month period Northern Ireland will not be required to switch suppliers away from GB for chilled meats. We cannot accept a situation whereby restrictions are placed on the movement of these products to any part of the United Kingdom, in this case Northern Ireland.
It also suggests that, unless the EU can minimise the inconvenience caused by the protocol, the DUP could vote to get rid of it when Northern Ireland gets a vote on its renewal in four years time. It says:
These arrangements flowing from the protocol are of course temporary, in that the Northern Ireland assembly will have the opportunity to revisit the protocol and vote upon it in four years time. We would remind all those involved, and the European Union specifically, that unless arrangements have the support of both unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland they will ultimately fail and on that basis it is imperative that on-the-ground implementation does not in any way disadvantage the people of Northern Ireland or our place within the UK market.
Under the government’s plan, the protocol will be renewed in four years time if a majority of MLAs (members of the legislative assembly in Northern Ireland) vote in favour. In many votes in the assembly unionists and nationalists both have an effective veto, because MLAs from both traditions have to agree, but in this vote a simply majority will apply.