DUP now at the mercy of events over Protocol – Empey

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DUP now at the mercy of events over Protocol – Empey

UUP Peer, Lord Empey said:

“There has been a lot of hype in the media about the imminent announcement of a 'deal' between the UK and EU. If such a deal is done, it will soon emerge.  There is also speculation that it will meet all the DUP's so called 7 tests.  Everybody knows that you could drive a coach and horses through them if you so wished.

“The acid test of where Northern Ireland ends up at the conclusion of this will be 1) Does the EU continue to make laws and regulations that apply in Northern Ireland and not in Great Britain without the consent of Westminster or Stormont? 2) Will border control posts be erected at Northern Ireland ports with the ability to impose checks on goods arriving from Great Britain? 3) Will traders in Great Britain be required to notify the authorities if they intend to move goods between GB and NI? 4) Will the European Court be the final arbiter in any case about the application of EU law in this part of the UK? 5) Will any new arrangements change the Treaty between the UK and EU of which the Protocol is part?

“One could continue to manufacture 'tests' to prove any of these points, but nothing will conceal the truth that we are in this mess because we left the EU without proper preparation and have fallen victim to a terrible negotiation conducted between 2016 and 2019.

“Many of the mitigations we can expect to see introduced have been on the table for at least a year now. There is little new out there.

“Any 'deal' will be accompanied by a political declaration from both sides telling us that we are a full part of the UK and pledging support for the Belfast Agreement,  even though the spirit of the Agreement has been ignored.

“It is a shame that the DUP didn't apply tests to Boris Johnson in 2019 when, instead of breaking off support for his government which they were propping up, they fell for his plan to put a border in the Irish Sea. That's when they had real influence and didn't use it.

“Now, instead of being in control of events, they are at the mercy of events.

“I think both the UK and EU are continuing to make the same mistake again and again by excluding local politicians from the negotiations.  I also think it is wrong that the people of Northern Ireland are subject to collective punishment by closing down Stormont at a time when it could be helping people during the worst cost of living crisis in living memory.

“I hope all this avoidable madness can be brought to an end soon.”