Northern Ireland DUP leader says he could back new post-Brexit trade proposal

LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s biggest pro-British party could back a new proposal to address post-Brexit trade difficulties between the province and Britain as part of a solution to term, Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson said Tuesday. .

The DUP has been at odds with the government since Prime Minister Rishi Sunak struck a new deal with the European Union earlier this year, which London says has facilitated trade between Northern Ireland and Britain and firmly entrenched the province’s place in the UK.

The DUP has not returned to Northern Ireland’s devolved executive since February 2022, rejecting the first post-Brexit deal with the EU and then the second, said Windsor framework, due to be introduced later this year .

Donaldson said he was still awaiting a response from the government on its proposals to fix the problems caused by the Windsor framework, but a report from the Center for Brexit Policy could form the basis of a longer-term solution.

“We are very clear that the Windsor framework does not meet our seven tests. We have submitted proposals to the government which we believe will address these concerns, we will see what the government comes up with,” he said. he said at a press conference.

“I made it clear that we needed to find a longer-term solution to this problem and … mutual enforcement, we believe, would meet the requirements we have set for that longer-term solution.”

He said there could be potential for his party to return to power-sharing government, but that London would have to agree to the proposal for mutual enforcement of trade rules and then win EU support .

The DUP has criticized the government’s post-Brexit deals for the province since former Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol in order to secure a Brexit divorce and wider trade deal with Brussels.

He says this deal, and the next, have put a question mark over Northern Ireland’s place in the UK after the province effectively remained in the EU’s single market for goods in order to preserve an open border with bloc member Ireland.

This put an effective border in the Irish Sea, and the new report suggested instead that Britain should launch a system of mutual enforcement of import and export regulations and standards to a self -called invisible border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Proponents of the proposal said London could act unilaterally, but even they cast doubts on whether the government would move to a new negotiating position just months after winning the Windsor Framework Agreement.

The government has said the Windsor framework resolves most post-Brexit trade issues and has no plans to renegotiate it. Instead, he is trying to offer the DUP legal safeguards to protect post-Brexit trade with the province. (Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Christina Fincher)

Leave a Comment