Lord Dodds and Baroness Hoey: Crucial protocol decision must have cross-community consent

The future operation of the NI Protocol should be dependent on cross-community consent, the House of Lords has heard.

Lord Dodds. 
Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Lord Dodds. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

In a joint amendment tabled with Baroness Kate Hoey, Nigel Dodds told peers that while so many key issues that come before the NI Assembly require cross-community approval, arguably “the most important one of all,” which “poses a danger to the Union,” will go before the Assembly without the previously agreed safeguard.

The amendment is in relation to the Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill – seeking to restore the cross-community protections which have been removed by Protocol.

Lord Dodds said: “The delicate balance of relationships across these Islands have been trashed as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Baroness Kate Hoey.

“It has driven a coach and horses through the cross-community consent principle which has been at the very heart of all political progress in Northern Ireland.

“The basis of the Belfast Agreement and all subsequent agreements, has been the requirement for significant decisions to command the support of both communities in Northern Ireland.

“If the government believes that unionists in Northern Ireland would tolerate a situation where the Protocol would be exempt from these same cross-community consent requirements, then they need to think again.”

The former DUP MP for North Belfast said “urgent actions” is required, and added: “The amendment tabled by Baroness Hoey and I, seeks to restore that precious balance required to sustain the continuation of the political institutions in Northern Ireland.

“It is simply unsustainable for people to expect that the institutions will just operate as normal while the east-west relationship continues to be undermined.”

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