Northern Ireland Protocol: TUV Jim Allister warns DUP against making ‘a mistake’

Jim Allister accused DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson last night of bowing to pressure by signalling that they are willing to join talks on a Programme for Government at Stormont.

By Henry McDonald
Saturday, 18th June 2022, 8:00 am

The TUV leader said such a move by the DUP was evidence Sir Jeffrey’s party was weakening its stance on No Protocol or No Stormont.

Mr Allister said: “In my view, in eagerness to claim success, they are overplaying the content of the Bill. The long shadow of the Protocol is most acute in the border it places in the Irish Sea and thus the breach of Article 6 of the Acts of Union.

“The Bill can ameliorate the border, but it does not remove it. Indeed, green lanes and red lanes confirm the border. Thus, I do not see how the Bill meets a key part of the DUP’s seven tests.

TUV leader Jim Allister

“It would appear the DUP is moving to water down that test. In that, I believe, they are making a mistake as they would be if they accepted anything on faith about this enabling bill.

“As I have repeatedly said it is only by holding its nerve that unionism will attain real progress.”

Mr Allister also launched an attack on the EU over what he said was its malevolence towards Northern Ireland. He said this was becoming ever clearer as Brussels threatens more Protocol Irish Sea border checks.

The TUV leader described the latest threats from European Commission vice-President Maros Sefcovic as “the malevolent intent of the EU”.

Mr Allister said that “when it comes down to it, the EU don’t intend to give up any of their ill-gotten sovereign gains over this part of the UK without resistance.”

On the Government’s Bill that enables it to dump parts of the Protocol, Mr Allister said: “It is clear that any movement on the Protocol can only be secured because unionism has used the leverage of the Assembly and the Executive. TUV has long (first) asserted that the Prime Minister has to be brought to choose: it must be Protocol or Stormont.”

Returning to his claim that the DUP was diluting its stance on Stormont, Mr Allister added: “It is therefore imperative that unionism holds our ground and does not shift on mere promises.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if the DUP shifts, Mr Johnson will again sell them short.

“That said, one can’t pretend the Bill removes the border, when it patently doesn’t. Unionism needs to collectively assert that much more needs to be delivered. Having secured some movement, unionism needs to press for much more.”