Unionism more than ever needs London’s help on the Northern Ireland protocol

News Letter editorial on Saturday May 7 2022:

By Editorial
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 2:45 am
Updated Monday, 9th May 2022, 6:00 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

It became clear early yesterday that Sinn Fein would, as long predicted, become the largest party in the coming Stormont assembly.

That is expected to be confirmed today.

The DUP vote did not in fact collapse, as per many predictions.

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Its vote share however was notably down. The drop in DUP vote was almost a direct transfer to the TUV.

That so many unionists, 65,000, voted for Jim Allister’s party, despite the threat of an SF first minister, shows how frustrated unionists are. And no wonder.

Sinn Fein, who do not want Northern Ireland to work, were allowed to bring down Stormont in 2017 for three years until they got an Irish language act. Unionists, on the other hand, had imposed on them an Irish Sea border, which the government in its own legal arguments admit involves the implied and partial repeal of the Act of Union.

Even so the DUP is set to come close to SF in seat numbers. Unionism is far from broken, even though it faces difficulties. It got more votes than nationalists.

There is no doubt that the reduction in Stormont seats from 108 to 90 has made it hard for small parties like the TUV. It will take time to figure out how to respond to the various challenges faced by supporters of the Union.

But this very week in the Queen’s Speech, unionism more than ever needs the help on the protocol that London keeps suggesting it will give.

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