Jamie Bryson: DUP ‘should go back to electorate once Northern Ireland Protocol Bill becomes law’

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson has said the DUP will have to test support for the Westminster legislation overriding the Northern Ireland Protocol with the unionist electorate.

Mr Bryson praised DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson as someone who had “stood firm and kept his word” over refusing to re-enter government at Stormont until there were radical changes to the Protocol.

But he said that if the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is made law in Parliament then the DUP will have to go back to unionist voters to receive endorsement for the legislative changes to the post-Brexit agreement.

He said: “The DUP went to the electorate for a mandate of no return to power sharing until the Protocol was removed. They, along with the TUV, secured a huge unionist mandate for this approach and recent polls demonstrated that the vast majority of the unionist electorate remain of the view that it’s a binary choice between power-sharing or the Protocol.”

Jamie Bryson

Mr Bryson continued: “That is why he (Sir Jeffrey) was being cheered as he walked in the Centenary parade. His strong approach, and that of Jim Allister, has galvanised and created a unity within the unionist electorate.

“It is important to maintain this unity and it is for this reason that I think once the Protocol Bill becomes law - hopefully with an amendment to ensure the exercise of all powers going forward to be consistent with the Act of Union - then unionism should go back to the electorate and seek a fresh mandate on the way forward.

“It will make for more stable and durable government if political unionism go back to the electorate with a potential solution on the Protocol, and seek unionism’s endorsement of it.”

He said there were still “some reasonable concerns” about the bill passing currently through Westminster and whether it can remove the Union-threatening aspects of the Protocol.

“It is for this reason that political unionism should go back to the electorate and seek its approval for the way forward,” the loyalist blogger and campaigner said.