Kate Hoey, a former Labour MP who now sits as a non-affiliated peer in the Lords, made the comments as part of the foreword to a new report – published this morning – on how to ensure Northern Ireland remains a full part of the UK.
The report focuses on what unionists see as the immediate threat posed by the Protocol, and suggests ways to fight against it (the precise details of which will be unveiled this morning).
It is published by Unionist Voice Publications Ltd, a firm run by Jamie Bryson which was incorporated one year ago.
While Unionist Voice Publications Ltd is the official name of the company, the branding on the report is for “Unionist Voice Policy Studies” (UVPS).
Titled Vetoing the Protocol: restoring cross-community consent protections, the UVPS report will set out how unionism at large can “weaponise the law and procedures within the Assembly” in order to “blow a hole in the Protocol”.
Baroness Hoey (originally from Newtownabbey but who represented Vauxhall in London) said: “This latest report by UVPS is an important contribution to the ongoing campaign against the Protocol, which the Government argued before the Court of Appeal ‘subjugated’ the Acts of Union.
“I support the increasingly strategic activism of young (and not so young) people within the pro-Union community, who are coming together in various ways to develop networks and sharing of ideas...
“I also entirely support the ongoing work to encourage those, especially from working class loyalist communities, to engage in education and to seek entry to professional vocations such as journalism, law, and public service.
“There are very justified concerns that many professional vocations have become dominated by those of a nationalist persuasion, and this positioning of activists is then used to exert influence on those in power.
“The work of UVPS is crucial, both as a network for the sharing of pro-Union ideas, and for the development of policies, legal arguments, and political strategies.”
The report says that the government has so far focussed on the “outrageous bureaucratic barriers to trade” created by the Protocol, but has missed the main point: namely, that “there has been fundamental constitutional change” to Northern Ireland’s relationship with GB.
It will also criticise the DUP for being “too slow to take substantive action”, and the UUP for its “fixation with the institutions, regardless of the cost to unionism”.
Meanwhile, it is understood the report will warmly praise the TUV.
More from this reporter:
News Letter exclusive on the fall-out from Gerry Adams court dispute: Lawsuits against the state from people interned in Northern Ireland 50 years ago now number up to 400
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