Northern Ireland Protocol / Windsor Framework: 'This is a defining moment for unionism - the DUP must remember its seven tests'

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​Jim Allister has said that the decision now facing the DUP is a “defining moment for unionism”, adding that the party’s mandate is to hold fast to its seven tests.

​Meanwhile prominent loyalist activist Jamie Bryson, who has organised a number of anti-Protocol rallies in recent years, said that unionists must be vigilant against any “surrender deal”.

With the DUP keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to the exact nature of a deal with the government, or about how deep any split runs in the party over a possible Stormont return, the two unionist figures issued their statements early on Friday.

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Mr Allister said in his: “The test for Unionism of any deal on the restoration of devolution remains the mandate on which the DUP fought not one but two elections – their seven tests.

Jim Allister, leader of the TUV and MLA for North AntrimJim Allister, leader of the TUV and MLA for North Antrim
Jim Allister, leader of the TUV and MLA for North Antrim

"If, as I suspect, not one word of the Protocol has changed and Sir Jeffrey pushes his party back into Stormont then a false bill of goods was sold to the Unionist people.

"The DUP have no mandate to go into a Sinn Fein lead executive in such circumstances.

“This is a defining moment for Unionism. If the Protocol is accepted by the DUP then they will have accepted that never again will Northern Ireland be fully part of the UK.

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"Should that prove to be the case, it will be time for all Unionists who see the folly of such to stand together to resist betrayal.”

Jamie Bryson meanwhile said: “Sir Jeffrey Donaldson stood on platforms and made fundamental promises.

"Indeed, every DUP elected representative who stood on a manifesto commitment that they would remove the Irish Sea Border and restore Article 6 of the Acts of Union. They have no mandate for surrender.

“It is an insult to unionists that it is expected that our community will seriously ever accept a simply re-branded Irish Sea Border.

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"They can call it the King Billy lane if they want. The key issue is whether the Protocol and Framework remains, and it is clear they will.

“If anyone thinks that principled unionists who have fought the pernicious Protocol from the very start are all of a sudden going to give up if Sir Jeffrey and a couple of other party officers wave the white flag and adopt the role of collaborators in implementing the subjugation of the Union.

“It will be a battle a day, and every unionist who surrenders will be challenged day in day out to justify what they have done.

"They will never be allowed to forget what they have done to the Union that so many fought and died to defend.”

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The DUP’s seven tests for any deal were published in summer 2021.

They said that any post-Brexit arrangements must:

1 – Fulfil Article 6 of the Act of Union;

2 – Avoid any diversion of trade;

3 – Not constitute a border in the Irish Sea;

4 – Give the people of NI a say in making the laws which govern them;

5 – Result in "no checks on goods going from NI to GB or from GB to NI" (and remaining in NI);

6 – Ensure no new regulatory borders develop between NI and the rest of the UK;

7 – Preserve the letter and spirit of NI's constitutional guarantee in the Belfast Agreement by requiring consent from a majority of its citizens for any diminution of its status as part of the UK.