Brandon Lewis told changes to Northern Ireland Protocol ‘must be significant’
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, has been told that any changes made to the NI Protocol must be significant
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LIVE UPDATES: DUP & NI Protocol - People of NI will not ‘thank or forgive’ the collapse of Stormont says Brandon Lewis
Last updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2021, 12:23
People of NI will not 'thank or forgive' the collapse of Stormont says Brandon Lewis
People in Northern Ireland will not “thank or forgive” politicians who threaten to bring down the Executive, the Secretary of State for the region has said.
The Stormont institutions have been rocked by a recent row over Irish language legislation and incoming DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has warned there can be no stability under the current terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
During an appearance before the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee, Secretary of State Brandon Lewis was asked what his message was to political leaders about threats to bring down the Executive.
He said: “My position on this has been pretty consistent for a very long time now, my point to anybody making that is I don’t think the public of Northern Ireland will thank you or forgive you for that.
“I think the public of Northern Ireland, after the impasse of three years, want to see the Executive, particularly at a time of a pandemic.
“They want to see the Executive up and running and I think there will be very low levels of tolerance if they believe people are going out of their way to take Stormont away as the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly for the people.”
‘Big beasts’ of the DUP presented Edwin Poots with 24 hour ultimatum
The outgoing leader of the DUP, Edwin Poots, has said “big beasts” within the DUP forced him to resign last week after he, despite being told by not to by a majority of party colleagues, nominated Paul Givan, MLA, to become the new First Minister.
In an exclusive interview with Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio Ulster on Wednesday morning, Mr. Poots talked about how being ousted as leader after 21 days impacted upon him and his family.
“Leadership’s about taking risks, I took a risk to run for leadership and I took a risk maybe to take on some of the big beasts in doing that,” he said.
“And then obviously some of the big beasts decided to have another go in that circumstance.”
Brandon Lewis tells MPs the NI Protocol must be changed for it to be sustainable
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis has said it is reasonable to take the view that changes will be made to the Northern Ireland Protocol as it is “not sustainable” in its current form - writes Jonathan McCambridge, PA.
The comments came after outgoing DUP leader Edwin Poots said he had received a personal assurance from the UK Government that significant changes will be made to the Protocol.
The UK Government and the EU are locked in a dispute over the implementation of the Protocol, the part of the Brexit divorce deal aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland.
Appearing before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Mr Lewis was asked what he had told Mr Poots.
He said: “We are very clear that the current position of the Protocol is not sustainable, it is causing issues for businesses and consumers and citizens in Northern Ireland and we need to rectify that.
“Ultimately for us there is a very core point about the Protocol, which is about protecting and respecting the UK’s internal market and not disrupting everyday lives of people in communities.
“We want to get that rectified and we are determined to do so, so I think it is reasonable for anybody to take the view that we have said that there will be changes because there has to be, the current status quo is not sustainable.”
Mr Lewis continued: “At the moment it’s very questionable whether it’s going to be sustainable in its current format and I think that’s why it’s in everybody’s interests to see it rectified.”