There is no pretending that this deal is a great day for unionism

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
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The DUP has been put under increasingly intolerable political pressure in recent months.

The party was abandoned by a Tory prime minister, Boris Johnson, who advocated Brexit in 2016 and was a key figure in that victory, and who then came to Belfast to tell the DUP he would never accept a border in the Irish Sea.

Latterly, Julian Smith — disgracefully— joined Simon Coveney in blaming the DUP for Stormont stalemate.

The party is vulnerable to the lack of devolution in a way Sinn Fein is not, given that the latter takes a military approach to its MLAs , who give the party a share of their pay.

It is no surprise that the DUP felt compelled to reach a deal, and that it has been tempted to agree to one that is less bad than the worst that unionists might have faced.

Yet there are profound problems with this deal. An Irish language commissioner will have far reaching consequences (the DUP insists it can veto any excesses).

The mere fact of a commissioner is reward for Sinn Fein political blackmail in toppling Stormont and keeping it down until there was such a legal advance for Irish.

Nothing in this deal will prevent future such vandalism.

The Stormont House legacy bill will go before MPs within weeks, despite this newspaper’s legacy scandal series in which a range of voices said they will justify IRA terror.

There are clear benefits from having ministers to run public services, but there is no pretending that this is a fine day. Due to London’s refusal to help unionists, it isn’t.