Plan to suspend Northern Ireland Protocol reportedly "days away" 1 week ago

Plan to suspend Northern Ireland Protocol reportedly "days away"

A Brexit "mega row" appears imminent.

A leading UK political analyst has posited that a plan to suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol is mere days away, with the race to restore the Stormont Executive in danger of stalling out.

Advertisement

Following a conclusive election victory for Sinn Féin over the weekend, the party has quickly accused the DUP of "holding society to ransom" with regard to delaying the reformation of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Speculation is mounting that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will look to scrap the existing Protocol, with ITV political journalist Robert Peston strongly indicating that possibility becoming reality very soon.

Noting that Boris Johnson "does not follow the normal rules," Peston explained:

"Mr Johnson is planning to say, as I understand it, that the UK government will take powers in legislation to breach its treaty obligations under the NI Protocol, and suspend all those border checks on goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, which were such an important part of its Brexit deal with the EU.

Advertisement

"But he'll announce all of that on Friday, not today. He knows that the moment he makes the announcement, there'll be an almighty row with Brussels, Dublin and Washington, and presumably he'd rather it didn't overshadow today's unveiling of all the other laws that he plans. But the mega row is coming."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin spoke with Boris Johnson on Tuesday, with the matter of Northern Ireland very much at hand.

"We both agreed on the need to see the Northern Ireland Executive formed as soon as possible. On the Protocol, I stressed [the] need to intensify EU and UK discussions and to avoid any unilateral action."

Advertisement

Speaking on Monday, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that any "gamesmanship" from the UK Government on the subject of Northern Ireland potentially being used as a bargaining chip in European Union matters would not be tolerated.

"We have the results and it has been a historic election," said McDonald.

"We have, for the first time, a nationalist, a republican First Minister elected in the person of Michelle O'Neill and the job now is to get to work. We need to see the immediate formation of an executive, Michelle O'Neill ratified as First Minister, and an appointment of a Deputy First Minister to that position.

Advertisement

"And any tactics of delay from the DUP, any grandstanding by them, any gamesmanship by the British Government who may wish to use the north of Ireland in a bargaining chip in terms of their wider engagement with the European Union over the Protocol will be clearly intolerable and must not happen," McDonald continued.

The Sinn Féin leader noted that her party stands "absolutely resolute and determined to get the job done" and to ensure that the Stormont Executive is restored promptly.