At the next election vote for candidates who are truly against the Northern Ireland Protocol, not its implementers

A letter from Councillor Tom Smith:

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 11:51 pm
Letter to the editor

Just in case anyone was in any doubt, the headline from the News Letter website dated May 2o which said, ‘New DUP leader designate Edwin Poots concedes NI protocol could remain in place until December 2024’, reveals that the push to get rid of Arlene wasn’t about changing policies around opposing the protocol.

It was simply about changing personalities and installing Poots as leader.

Indeed, on January 3 this year, Arlene herself said on the Andrew Marr show, “...we do have to deal with this regulatory issue for four years and then the assembly votes on whether they want to remain within that regulatory system...”

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It is as clear as the nose on your face that the DUP have no new tricks up their sleeve — indeed they need the protocol to carry on so they can use it as the centre piece of their election campaign next year.

‘Vote for us and we will vote against the Protocol in 2024.’ will be their cry!

Just a few problems with that.

Firstly — any vote on the protocol in 2024 only refers to certain parts of it — the rest of the protocol remains in place .

Secondly — The vote isn’t about removing the protocol but replacing certain parts with something else. The EU, along with the UK, will be deciding its replacement.

Thirdly — Even if such a vote was successful, there would be no change until 2026! By then the protocol would be very well embedded.

At the next election my advice would be , if you want to vote DUP give them a 2nd, 3rd , 4th preference. If you give them a 1st preference they will take that as a clear endorsement of what they have done.

If you want to send a message to any political party simply remove your vote for them. It is the only way to make them listen. At the next election look for candidates that are truly against the protocol, that aren’t its implementers.

Vote for them first and then, and only then, give the DUP a preference.

Tom Smith, Councillor, Ex DUP, Ards & North Down Borough Council

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