Loyalist report on ‘illegal’ protocol checks divides parties

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson’s claim that DUP Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has acknowledged the NI protocol to be “illegal” has met with mixed political backlash.

The blogger, speaking on behalf of the Unionist Voice Policy Studies (UVPS) group, sent a pre-action letter to Mr Poots in December, claiming that because the DUP minister did not get approval more off the Stormont executive for the port checks required by the NI Protocol, so it was “illegal”.

It has now been confirmed by the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that, as requested, they will refer the current and future implementation of the protocol to the Executive Committee, which could see the deposed minister. of all power to act. and potentially shut down all checks at NI ports by the end of the month.

The UVPS, which is headed by Mr Bryson, says it is now the duty of every Unionist minister to use inter-community mechanisms to block executive authority for the implementation of the protocol.

Speaking on Wednesday’s BBC Stephen Nolan show, Mr Bryson said Mr Poots will now have to bring a document to the executive to seek permission to continue with the checks.

“So Edwin Poots, as a strategic measure, will have to bring a document to the executive and say, ‘I have acknowledged my illegality and the lack of ministerial authority to implement this and I now ask the executive to grant permission to continue the checks or else the checks will have to stop, ”he said.

“And, of course, the veto then works in favor of unionism, and of course unionists can veto the proposal.”

It was pointed out that if the UUP came after the DUP, there would be five votes each in the executive.

Mr Poots told the BBC his attempt to present the paper to the executive was “not a pre-election stunt”.

He said: “This is work we have done over the past year in terms of mitigating the damage to Northern Ireland as a result of the protocol.

“The opposition of the DUP to the protocol is not recent. It’s not a stunt, it’s for real.

DUP chief Jeffrey Donaldson took to Twitter on Wednesday to welcome the report.

He tweeted: “This is a welcome contribution from Unionist Voice and @CatharineHoey (Baroness Kate Hoey) on opposing the protocol and the damage it is doing to our relations with the rest of the UK.”

TUV chief Jim Allister also praised Bryson on his move, calling it “better late than never” while accusing the DUP of “procrastinating” over the past year.

He said: “But better late than never. The second issue now – especially given last year’s quake and implementation – is whether the DUP will commit to blocking this late request for protocol approval of Poots in the Executive and do it without further procrastination or procrastination? “

SDLP chief Colum Eastwood said all ministers have a legal obligation to abide by the international agreement between the EU and the UK after Brexit.

“The latest claim that the DUP is about to launch an attempt to block the implementation of the protocol is yet another attempt to distract from the issues that really matter to northerners,” he said. declared.

“People are fed up with the constant machinations around Protocol, the majority of people here support it and want to take advantage of the unique opportunities it offers.”

The MP for Foyle said there must be an immediate end to the “political distractions and fabricated crises that plague our politics”.

Alliance advisor Sorcha Eastwood stressed that while the “protocol is not perfect and changes need to be made”, it is “not the public’s priority”.

“Those who constantly threaten to bring down the Assembly must take a step back, examine their actions and act sensibly instead,” she said.

A spokesperson for Sinn Fein said the party would not support any approach that attempts to undermine existing executive policy “or that seeks to deviate from the rule of law and its statutory duty.”

“The protocol is in place to protect our employees and businesses from the worst impacts of Brexit,” the spokesperson said.

A UUP spokesperson said: “We will wait until we see the document from the minister to the executive. It would be unreasonable for us to comment on an article that we have not seen.

Amanda J. Marsh