Boris Johnson holds talks in Northern Ireland to try to break Stormont deadlock | politics news
The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in Northern Ireland on Monday as efforts intensify to break the political deadlock in Stormont.
Boris Johnson will hold talks with party leaders and try to persuade the Democratic Unionists to enter a power-sharing government.
Sinn Fein is now the largest party, but its vice chair, Michelle O’Neill, cannot become a first minister without a federal deputy first minister.
The DUP prevented the formation of a new administration delegated to the Northern Ireland Protocol and the resulting maritime boundary.
Boris Johnson may have to choose between a government in Belfast or the treaty he has agreed to with the European Union.
The Prime Minister told the Belfast Telegraph: “Many things have changed since the Protocol was agreed.
“We have been told by the European Union that it is impossible to make changes to the text of the Protocol to actually solve these problems in the negotiations – because there is no mandate to do so.”
Committed to “keeping the door open for real dialogue”, he echoed the words of Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and pointed to a potential “landing ground”.
“Our common goal should be to create the largest possible cross-community support for a revised protocol in 2024,” he added.
Boris Johnson said he hoped the EU would change its stance but warned that “if it does not, action will be necessary.
“The government has a responsibility to provide assurances that consumers, citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland are protected in the long term.”
“We will make a more detailed assessment and the next steps for Parliament in the coming days,” he added.
The government is preparing to publish legislation to bypass the protocol but Sky News understands that there are still concerns in the Cabinet about the legal situation.
Bill It can be challenged in Parliament or in the courts If it is deemed to have violated international law.
The Prime Minister chooses to fight with the European Union and some of its deputies
The government plans to publish legislation to repeal the Northern Ireland Protocol.
By introducing legislation that appears to contravene international law, Boris Johnson is not only picking a fight with the European Union, but also with some of his MPs and members of the House of Lords.
The Conservative leader of the Northern Ireland Select Committee, Simon Hoare, said the move would be an “indelible stain on our country’s reputation” and called on colleagues to ask themselves “what would we say if the Labor government was doing this?”
The senior Conservative MP, Sir Roger Gill, was equally scathing, saying that Boris Johnson signed his Brexit deal in 2019 and held a general election over it.
“They weren’t talking about it at the time,” said the Kent MP. “Boris Johnson is responsible for it…Our word is our bond and if we say we’re going to do something, we have to do it.”
The inclusion of safeguards to avoid this would limit any action to the constraints of the full Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Sir Geoffrey Donaldson, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, said: “The Prime Minister’s visit to Northern Ireland is an acknowledgment that the Protocol is not working and is detrimental to Northern Ireland, and these problems must be addressed.
“We are waiting to hear what the prime minister has to say, but we are not going to judge words. It is decisive action to be taken,” he added.
“Until this action is taken, the consensus necessary for power-sharing in Northern Ireland does not exist.
“We respect the mandate that the other parties have, but they should equally acknowledge the clear vision expressed by the unionist electorate.”