Jim Nicholson: ‘NI the price to be paid for the delivery of Brexit’

Michael Gove has fallen for the European “kick the can down the road” approach to dealing with the NI Protocol difficulties, according to former MEP Jim Nicholson.

Jim Nicholson on his last day as an MEP in 2019
Jim Nicholson on his last day as an MEP in 2019

Mr Nicholson, who served as an Ulster Unionist representative in Brussels for 30 years up until 2019, said the Cabinet Office minister’s approach won`t deal with the immediate issues and “will instead gradually poison the political atmosphere”.

Mr Gove emerged from a meeting with the European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, reiterating the government’s commitment to implementing the NI Protocol.

Mr Nicholson said: “The issue with this approach is that it in Northern Ireland. Where this will eventually finish, nobody knows.

“It`s clear that Michael Gove and Boris Johnson won`t change. They are prepared for Northern Ireland to be the price that must be paid for the delivery of Brexit for Great Britain and anyone who believes that this Conservative government will come to their rescue is sadly mistaken. Not for the first time have they let Northern Ireland down and they`ll do it again.”

Mr Nicholson added: “That`s why it`s vitally important that those calling for the collapse of Stormont should reflect on what happens if all decisions fall into the lap of Boris Johnson.

“He has demonstrated no loyalty to Northern Ireland before, so why would he do it now? Calamitous decision making by the DUP over the last fifteen years has seriously damaged the cause of unionism and it can`t afford anymore knee-jerk decisions designed for short-term party political gain rather than long term strategic strengthening of the United Kingdom.”